TEPCO’s shady history

In Nuclear Industry on March 17, 2011 at 4:35 AM


A dark view on TEPCO and Japanese nuclear industry.




If we’ve learned anything from the crisis so far, it’s that the Japan government and its nuclear industry don’t have the smoothest PR in the world. Ever since the tsunami knocked out the plant’s cooling system on Friday and the reactor cores began over-heating, the official word has been confusing, contradictory and downright mysterious.



TEPCO also has a history of obfuscation and falsification when it comes to safety.



[…] about the extent of breakdowns at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, the world’s largest nuclear electricity-generating complex.” The paper continued:

The magnitude 6.8 quake 10 km offshore from the Honshu west coast plant caused subsidence of the main structure, ruptured water pipes, started a fire that took five hours to extinguish, and triggered small radioactive discharges into the atmosphere and sea.

Japan has had reactors shut and superficially damaged by earthquakes before, nuclear power stations have had safety failures before, and TEPCO management has been caught before covering up its plant problems. But this was the first time all three circumstances had coincided. This was the nearest thing Japan had seen to genpatsu-shinsai (a nuclear power station earthquake disaster).



In 2003, all 17 of its nuclear plants were shut down temporarily after a scandal over falsified safety-inspection reports. It ran into trouble again in 2006, when it emerged that coolant-water data at two plants had been falsified in the 1980s.


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