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Japan’s Kyushu Elec likely to delay nuclear plant restart due to Kobe Steel checks

genkai npp.jpg
* Delay would be another hitch in reboot of Japan’s nuclear sector
* Kyushu spokesman says firm has not yet changed restart schedule
* Kobe steel has been reeling from data-falsification scandal
TOKYO, Nov 29 (Reuters) – Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Co will likely delay the restart of a nuclear plant by several months as it makes checks related to the data-fabrication scandal that has engulfed Kobe Steel Ltd , the Nikkei newspaper reported on Wednesday.
A delay would be a further hitch in the protracted reboot of Japan’s nuclear sector, which was shut down in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The government and industry want reactors restarted to cut electricity bills, but swathes of the public oppose returning to atomic energy.
Four reactors are operating out of 42 commercially viable units, and Kyushu Electric has been planning to restart two of its reactors at its Genkai plant in southern Japan by next March.
A Kyushu Electric spokesman on Wednesday told Reuters that the firm had not yet changed the schedule for the Genkai restart, but added that the utility had told the country’s atomic regulator in mid-November that checks on the use of Kobe Steel products would take about a month.
A delay would mark the first direct impact on reactor restarts from the Kobe Steel scandal, raising worries over similar delays in restarts at other nuclear plants, the Nikkei said. The paper cited a senior company official as the source for its information on the possible delay in the Kyushu restart.
Japan’s third-largest steelmaker, which supplies producers of cars, planes, trains and other products across the world, said in October that about 500 of its customers had received products with falsified specifications. The company is also a supplier to the nuclear industry, providing casings for uranium fuel rods and for spent fuel cooling units.
The No.3 and No.4 reactors at Genkai plant in southern Japan have met the regulator’s safety requirements imposed after the Fukushima disaster, and the company had been aiming to restart the No.3 reactor in January and No.4 unit in March.
Checks by nuclear operators have so far found that some Kobe Steel parts are used at their nuclear plants, but that there are no safety issues as the supplied products were not made at factories that engaged in fabrication.
Checks are continuing and utilities are prioritising operating units and those in final stages before restart.
Kansai Electric Power is planning to restart two units at its Ohi plant west of Tokyo by March and is making checks to see whether they have parts supplied by Kobe Steel that have falsified data.
Read also related:
Kobe Steel scandal: ‘look the other way’ culture of corporate Japan, faked data for over a decade
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November 30, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Kobe Steel scandal: ‘look the other way’ culture of corporate Japan, faked data for over a decade

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The Kobe Steel scandal: What we know so far
It’s the latest big scandal to rock corporate Japan.
Kobe Steel (KBSTY), a century-old industrial giant, has admitted to falsifying data on products sold to top customers like Boeing (BA) and Toyota (TM).
It says as many as 500 companies could be affected, including manufacturers of Japan’s famous bullet trains.
Here’s the lowdown on the crisis that’s rippling through major industries around the globe:
What happened?
Essentially, Kobe employees faked reports to make it look as though products met the specifications requested by customers when in fact they didn’t.
The scandal initially concerned copper and aluminum parts, but has spread to steel products, too. It has raised doubts about thousands of tons of material shipped over a period of more than 10 years.
For the aluminum and copper parts, false data was given about their strength and durability.
Which industries?
Kobe steel sells metal to all kinds of different businesses. Some of the main industries to which it has supplied the suspect products include aviation, automobiles, railways and nuclear power.
Who’s affected?
In the aerospace industry, Boeing and Japan’s Mitsubishi (MHVYF) both used Kobe parts made with falsified data in their aircraft. But the two companies insisted they don’t believe the parts present a safety concern.
Japanese automakers Toyota (TM), Honda (HMC) and Nissan (NSANF) acknowledged they had used affected Kobe materials but were still assessing the consequences for their vehicles.
Ford (F) has said it found aluminum parts in the hood of its Mondeo model in China, but can’t confirm if they were sourced during the affected period.
Other big companies — including GM (GM), Mazda (MZDAF) and plane-maker Airbus (EADSF) — said they haven’t found any suspect parts so far but are combing their supply chains regardless.
The future of Kobe Steel is unclear, but it looks bleak right now. Its stock has nosedived 40% since the revelations first emerged.
Some analysts have warned the company could go bust, and others have suggested it could be broken up and sold off to rivals.
Kobe hasn’t put a number on the likely size of the financial hit from the scandal. The firm’s CEO has said it will bear the costs of any product recalls by its customers. He is also leading an internal probe into what happened.
Doesn’t this sound familiar?
Japan Inc has amassed a growing pile of embarrassing scandals in recent years.
They include Takata’s deadly airbags, Mitsubishi Motors’ fudged fuel-efficiency tests and Toshiba’s damaging debacles over its accounting and nuclear power business.
 
Japan’s Kobe Steel May Have Faked Data for Over a Decade
Kobe Steel Ltd. said it will co-operate with the U.S. Department of Justice after the agency requested documents related to the fake data scandal that risks engulfing Japan’s third-biggest steelmaker.
Kobe has said some 500 companies worldwide are in a supply chain tainted by admissions that it falsified certifications on the strength and durability of metals going back to 2007, including automotive giants Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. and the U.S.’s biggest plane maker, Boeing Co. The besieged Japanese company said in a statement it can’t yet quantify the impact of the crisis on its earnings.
The DOJ’s involvement means the company is “going to have to go overboard to be cleaner than clean,” said Alexander Medd, managing director of Bucephalus Research Partnership Ltd. in Hong Kong. “This is going to require a complete mental shift and rebuilding of trust.” Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has also asked the company for a report on the scandal including causes and remedies.
Kobe’s global review of its units will probably reveal that data falsification began even longer than 10 years ago, according to a company executive, asking not to be named as the information isn’t public. The Nikkei newspaper reported Tuesday that irregularities over quality control at Kobe’s plants in Japan date back decades, citing a person it didn’t identify.
As the steelmaker works to contain the fallout, it has briefed analysts that short-term liquidity isn’t an issue as it seeks to generate cash including via asset sales.
Kobe Steel is also considering the sale of its real estate unit, the executive said. Jefferies Japan Ltd. analyst Thanh Ha Pham said that, while the company has enough cash and funding to cover short-term needs, it’s looking to raise money by lowering working capital and through asset sales, according to a note that followed a briefing with Kobe’s management on Monday.
Last week saw Kobe’s stock collapse 41 percent as investors rushed to punish the latest instance of corporate malfeasance in Japan, following similar misconduct around data at companies such as Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Asahi Kasei Corp. It has since pared those losses, closing 3.1 percent higher in Tokyo on Tuesday for a two-day gain of 6 percent.
Kobe Steel could face losses of as much as 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion) in a worst-case scenario arising from its misconduct, according to Nomura Securities Co., while Japan Credit Rating Agency has placed the company’s A rating on watch for a possible downgrade.
A QuickTake Q&A explainer on the Kobel Steel data scandal
Nomura’s tally assumes customers would be forced to recall products and then have Kobe assume the cost, and that it will have to pay compensation, including to investors, credit analyst Shintaro Niimura said in a report Monday. The bank estimates that about 30 percent of Kobe’s aluminum and copper, two of the metals subject to data falsification, is bought by automakers.
Capital Adequacy
Still, with about 700 billion yen in capital, the worst case would only put a dent in Kobe’s capital-adequacy ratio, which would fall from 30 percent to 23 percent, according to Niimura. He cautioned that losses could widen if evidence comes to light that the scandal has affected more products than reported so far by Kobe, which on Friday added another nine to the list, including core steel products, to make 16.
The units implicated in the crisis make the steel, copper, aluminum and other materials that account for over half the company’s revenue.
Kobe’s property unit, Shinko Real Estate Co., had fixed assets of 89.9 billion yen, according to a March filing. The company is considering a number of sales options for the business, which leases and sells real estate, including a full divestment, according to the executive, although he said the sale isn’t linked to the company’s wider problems.
None of Kobe’s customers has so far raised specific safety concerns or recalled products. Jefferies’ Pham cited management as saying that customer feedback, including from beverage can producers and railway companies, is that no immediate recalls are required and products involved are not a safety concern.
Some of Japan’s biggest automakers — Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Subaru Corp. — are investigating whether any car parts contain falsified materials from Kobe, according to company spokespeople. Toyota supplier Denso Corp. is also checking its products, while Tokyo Metro Co. and Seibu Railway Co. are investigating if Kobe’s aluminum parts are used in their trains.
Kobe Steel declined to comment on the details of the analyst meeting on Monday. A spokeswoman said it’s investigating past records to determine the cause of the falsifications.
 
Scandal-hit Kobe Steel has a ‘look the other way’ culture, they say in hometown
KOBE, Japan (Reuters) – The fresh university graduate, eager to make a good impression on the job at one of Kobe Steel Ltd’s (5406.T) main plants in Japan, punched the wrong measurements into machines making steel pipes, causing a large batch to come out too short.
“I thought I was going to be fired,” recalled the former employee nearly 40 years later. But Shinzo Abe, now Japan’s prime minister, stayed on the job at Japan’s third-largest steelmaker for three years before entering politics in 1982.
Abe has called the steel industry the backbone of the nation. Kobe Steel, a 112-year-old company in south-central Japan’s Hyogo prefecture, has risen from wartime devastation and natural disaster but its past is littered with examples of corporate misconduct.
Its admission last month that workers had tampered with product specifications for at least a decade is the latest in a string of scandals that has battered Japan’s reputation as a manufacturing powerhouse.
Clients around the world, including top carmakers and airplane manufacturers, have been scrambling to check whether the safety or performance of their products have been compromised.
Workers, executives and shopowners in Kobe, a gritty, industrial city bordered by sloping hills where cattle are bred for the famed Kobe beef, said they were concerned but not surprised by the scandal.
Kobe Steel, which has apologized for the tampering, declined comment for this article.
“The corporate culture was to look the other way even while you saw what was going on,” said a retired employee who worked at the company’s flagship steel plant, Kobe Works – a symbol of the city’s quick recovery from a 1995 earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people. The company’s other main plant in the area is Kakogawa Works, in the nearby city of Kakogawa.
“They were supposed to be instilling a culture that paid attention when improprieties were discovered,” the former employee said. “In the end they didn’t create such a corporate culture. That’s management’s responsibility.”
The company initially said some workers had falsified data on contract specifications for a relatively small amount of aluminum and copper products, but it later admitted the problem had spread.
In 2006, Kobe Steel admitted falsifying soot-emissions data from the blast furnaces at Kobe Works and Kakogawa Works.
The latest scandal reflects “exactly the same set-up”, said Shoichi Tarumoto, who was then mayor of Kakogawa. “It looks like nothing has changed at Kobe Steel.”
PAST PROBLEMS
Kobe Steel has admitted taking part in bid-rigging for a bridge project in 2005, and failing to report income to tax authorities in 2008, 2011 and 2013. The company exceeded established limits for ground and water pollution in 2006.
Illegal political funding to candidates in local assembly elections in 2009 prompted the resignations of the then CEO and chairman. And last year Kobe Steel admitted a subsidiary falsified data on stainless-steel products.
A senior official in local government who has dealt with the company for years said: “Kobe Steel always scouts the backstreets for shortcuts. That’s their nature.”
Although its local dominance has waned, Kobe Steel remains one of only two Kobe-based companies, along with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd (7012.T), that have revenues over 1 trillion yen ($9 billion) a year. The Kakogawa Works is that city’s biggest company, vital as a local taxpayer and employer.
More than a third of the Kobe Steel group’s 6,123 domestic customers are concentrated in Hyogo or neighboring Osaka, according to credit-research firm Teikoku Databank. More than half its customers are small and midsize Japanese companies.
The other clients are spread around the world and include top automobile manufacturers, airplane makers, railways and nearly any industry that uses steel, aluminum or copper in any form.
No safety issues have been found so far because of the tampering, but Kobe Steel has withdrawn its forecast for its first annual profit in three years. Whatever the eventual economic impact, the scandal is already affecting morale in Kobe city.
“If Kobe Steel suffers a blow, this is the area that will be most affected,” said Tsuyoshi Matsuda of Teikoku Databank’s Kobe office.
Kobe Steel acknowledges some customers have shifted orders to other suppliers. Major banks are instructing their Kobe area branches to keep close watch on the credit management at companies that do business with the steelmaker, bankers say.
“HEAVY MOOD”
The scandal “isn’t an open topic on the job,” said a worker in his 30s, finishing the night shift around 8 a.m. at Kobe Works, a hulking jumble of rusting pipes, risers and tanks.
“Nobody says it out loud, but I think people are worried,” he said. “It’s a heavy mood.”
Shinzaike, the local train station closest to Kobe Works, is home to several bar-restaurants that count the company’s employees among their best customers. Since the latest scandal erupted, business has dried up, traders said.
“Looks like they’re holding back from going drinking,” said a pub owner.
Reservations for year-end parties would normally be starting now, but there haven’t been any yet, he added.
Abe, who worked at both the Kobe and Kakogawa works, has called his years at Kobe Steel “the starting point of my adult life.”
Last year, according to media reports, he urged young people entering the workforce to follow his example of learning from mistakes at Kobe Steel.
“I got through it without incident,” he said. “I want you not to be discouraged by a few mistakes but rather do the best you can.”
 
Kobe Steel blames data scandal on focus on profit, lack of controls
TOKYO (Reuters) – Kobe Steel Ltd said on Friday a lack of quality controls and a focus on profits was behind the widespread data tampering that has shaken up the supply chains of car and plane makers around the world.
Japan’s third-largest steelmaker, which has posted losses in the last two business years, promised to automate more of its operations and reorganize its quality control systems to recover from one of the nation’s biggest corporate scandals.
The 112-year-old company admitted last month that workers had tampered with product specifications, causing global automakers, aircraft manufacturers and other companies to check whether the safety or performance of their products had been compromised.
No safety issues have so far been identified from the data cheating, which mainly involves falsely certifying the strength and durability of products.
Kobe Steel was ordered last month by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to provide a detailed explanation of the data cheating and say what steps it would take to prevent future abuses.
“Improving our management and corporate governance and instilling a culture where employees can say anything are imperative,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hiroya Kawasaki said at a press briefing after submitting its report to the government. “This is my utmost priority and I will work on these with unflagging resolve,” he said.
Kawasaki said his “ultimate management responsibility” will be decided after recently appointed outside investigators report back to the company.
“Given the magnitude of the scandal, we expect upper management to get the boot,” Thanh Ha Pham, an analyst at Jefferies in Tokyo, wrote in a note on Friday, without saying when that might happen.
Multiple workers and managers at nine production sites were involved in tampering data on specifications of products, the company said in its internal report.
Some of the fabrication of data went on for 10 years, Managing Executive Officer Koji Yamamoto said, though he could not say when exactly it started.
The company is in talks with fewer than 10 customers who want to recover the costs of safety inspections, Managing Executive Officer Yoshihiko Katsukawa said.
“Clarifying your company’s thinking on the causes of this incident is a meaningful step towards restoring trust,” Akihiro Tada, director general of METI’s manufacturing industries bureau, told Kawasaki as he arrived to deliver the report.
Kobe Steel, also subject of a U.S. Justice Department inquiry as well, has had a Japanese government-sanctioned seal of quality revoked on some of its products and lost customers.
As of Friday, the company said 474 out of 525 affected customers found no safety issues or their products were deemed safe by Kobe Steel, up from 470 earlier this week.
The company has said it cannot yet fully state what impact the tampering will have on its finances. Last week, it pulled its forecast for its first annual profit in three years for the 12 months through next March.
Kobe Steel’s shares have fallen by nearly a fifth since it revealed the data fabrication a month ago.
The company’s shares rose nearly 2 percent on Friday, while the Nikkei 225 fell 0.8 percent.
 
Kobe Steel Blames Plant Managers for Quality Control Scandal
TOKYO — When a roll of aluminum produced at a Kobe Steel factory fell short of customers’ exacting demands for qualities like strength, plant managers were supposed to make a painful but necessary decision: Start again and make a new, better roll of metal, even if it cost the company time and money.
But for at least a decade, according to an internal company report released on Friday, those managers took an easier way out, manipulating test data on some products to avoid expensive do-overs.
The report by the Japanese steel maker is its first public accounting of the causes of a data falsification scandal that has shaken the company and prompted around 500 of its customers around the world — including manufacturers of cars, trains and aircraft — to scramble to verify their products’ safety.
The report, produced by Kobe Steel without input from regulators or other outside parties, concluded that the company had erred by elevating the pursuit of short-term profit over the maintenance of scrupulous quality standards. That failing, it said, was exacerbated by lax oversight by senior executives and an “insular” corporate culture that discouraged employees from questioning improper but long-established practices.
“There was a climate where employees on the ground couldn’t speak up. Even if they did speak up, it wouldn’t make a difference,” Kobe Steel’s chief executive, Hiroya Kawasaki, said at a news conference. “As long as the revenue was coming in, management wasn’t interested.”
Mr. Kawasaki said that the practice of misrepresenting not-quite-perfect metals was at least a decade old but that, because records going back further than that were incomplete, it might have been going on longer.
A second report on the scandal, by a commission of outside experts, will be completed by the end of December, he said.
In a series of announcements beginning last month that have rattled corporate Japan, Kobe Steel acknowledged faking data about the quality of aluminum, copper and other products to make it appear as though they met standards promised to customers when in fact they did not.
The metals still met basic safety requirements, according to the company and customers who have reviewed their purchases from Kobe Steel. Nonetheless, the episode has reverberated through global supply chains and dealt a fresh blow to Japan’s reputation for scrupulous, dependable manufacturing.
The report published on Friday outlined several changes the company plans to make to prevent cheating, including automating record keeping for product tests and requiring multiple employees to verify that test results are accurate.
The report faulted what it said was Kobe Steel’s excessively segmented structure, saying that the company’s seven separate divisions — which produce products ranging from aluminum used by automakers to steel for the construction industry — had become insulated fiefs where problems could fester.
Top managers escaped direct blame for the scandal: The report said there was no evidence that they were aware of the data falsification, though it criticized executives for setting unreasonable production targets and then failing to scrutinize how subordinates met them, or at least appeared to meet them.
“The fact that management did not grasp what was happening on the front lines is in itself a major problem,” it said.
 
Kobe Steel quality scandal driven by pursuit of profits and demanding corporate culture
Scandal-hit Kobe Steel’s troubles were driven by a relentless focus on profits and the company’s regimented corporate culture, which led to more than decade of faked quality guarantees on its products.
Japan’s third largest steel-maker said it “sincerely and deeply apologised for the enormous amount of worry and trouble we have caused” as the findings of an investigation into its problems emerged.
A 27-page document detailing what went inside Kobe – which has been loss-making for the two years – said failed quality controls were behind testing data being altered.
The report said that “a severe management environment” with demanding profit targets had contributed to the scandal.
The investigation into the issues which affected more than 500 customers – including those in the aerospace, transport and nuclear industries – was ordered by Japanese government.
Customers of Kobe included Toyota and Nissan, along with international clients such as Boeing, General Motors and Daimler. The scandal – which affects aluminium, copper and steel products – has sent Kobe’s customers racing to check components acquired from the company, though no safety problems have yet been identified.
In the wake of the report, Kobe has promised to transform itself with more automation and better quality controls.
In an update on checks into the affected products on Friday, Kobe said 474 of the 525 affected customers had not identified problems or Kobe had satisfied itself the products were safe.
News of the scandal saw shares in Kobe plunge as much as 40pc and Hiroya Kawasaki, president of Kobe, admitted that “trust in our company has fallen to zero”.
Customers have been deserting the business, causing Kobe to scrap financial forecasts. Naoto Umehara, executive vice-president, signalled the scandal could kill the company, warning Kobe “may incur extraordinary losses”.
Reports of the malfeasance at Kobe is just the latest of a string of scandals that have rocked corporate Japan, with companies including Nissan, Toshiba and Olympus also having been revealed to have suffered huge issues. 

November 30, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

A Call for Working Together to Enact the Chernobyl Law in Japan

By Masami Ueno (Director of Fukushima-Iseshima Association)
 
Fukushima-Isehima Association is a Non-Profit Organization located in Mie Prefecture in Japan. We have been helping the evacuees (be it forced or volunteered) from Fukushima to settle in Mie Prefecture and providing the children of Fukushima with recuperation programs in Mie since March 2011. We also send fresh vegetables to families in Fukushima.  
 
Our activities mentioned above have been supported by generous donations and grants. However, after six years have passed, we have realized that what private organizations—like ours—can do is limited. Yet, our activities are still necessary for many people since radiation continues to be released into the air every day as the result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Then, the question is how we can tackle with such an unprecedented scale of disaster. To be honest, we are at a loss. However, there are two important precedents we should follow. 
 
The first instance is the Chernobyl Law that was established by the government of the former Soviet Union for the people affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in order to protect their lives and health from radiation. The Chernobyl Law is also the first law in the world that manifests the universal human rights to the life of the people affected by the radiation disaster. We believe that Japan must enact the law equivalent to the Chernobyl Law.  
 
Another instance is Japan’s Freedom of Information Law that was established by the government of Japan in 1999. This law was the product of the accumulated efforts made by the citizens all over Japan; those citizens requested their own local governments and members of the city councils to enact the Freedom of Information Law at the municipal levels. This citizen movement eventually led to the enactment of this law at the national level. We can establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law by following this history and experience of the civil actions that eventually realized the Freedom of Information Law in Japan.
 
We would like to work together with many of you toward the enactment of Japan’s Chernobyl Law in order to protect our health and lives from the radiation disaster.
Please take a moment to read the following. We hope that you support our idea and join our effort to establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law.
 
Five years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the so-called “Chernobyl Law” was established by the former Soviet Union; it was then succeeded by the governments of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus after the dissolvement of the Soviets.  
 
All these governments have guaranteed the right to evacuation for the residents living in the contaminated areas by radiation, while providing the people living in the areas to which the evacuation orders were issued with the social security. The three countries are not necessarily in a sound economic situation; consequently, they are not able to fulfill all the compensations stimulated by the law. Nonetheless, the Chernobyl Law is still significant for human history as it identifies the government as the primary responsible for the nuclear disaster and guarantees the unconditional right to evacuation for the residents living in areas where one’s exposure to radiation would exceed 1 mSv/year.
 
On the other hand, the Japanese government raised the standard of public dose limit for radiation exposure from 1 mSv to 20 mSv per year after the Fukushima nuclear accident, and continues to maintain the same dose limit as the safety standard, which turns to be the criteria for the government to lift the evacuation order today. 
 
Furthermore, the Fukushima Health Management Survey Committee has renounced the possibility of causal relation between the increasing number of thyroid cancers among the Fukushima children and radiation, and has never taken a drastic measurement for the health problems among the residents of Fukushima.
 
Japan’s radiation risk management policy considerably differs from that of the three former USSR countries, which set up 1 mSv/ year as the public dose limit for radiation exposure and provide the social security for the people who are diagnosed as a possible victim of the radiological consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.
 
Immediately after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the government of the former Soviet Union raised the standard of the public dose for radiation exposure from 1 mSv to 100 mSv/year; and some experts insisted that 100 mSv/year was ‘safe’ even around the period where the Chernobyl Law was being established. However, the public dose limit was reversed to 1mSv/year, which is the international standard, because the nuclear power plant workers, who had dealt with the accident, fiercely opposed to the government’s policy of 100 mSv as the post-Chernobyl public dose limit. 
 
We, the citizens in Japan, too, experienced the nuclear catastrophe that reminded us of the dignity of life.
We must speak out and take actions in order to establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law.
                                                          
May 2017
 
Please contact us if you like to work with us to draft a model plan and formulate a procedure to enact the law at the municipal level. The below is our contacts:
 
Email:
ueno_masami_1108@yahoo.co.jp(Masami Ueno)
noam@m6.dion.ne.jp(Toshio Yanagihara)
 

November 30, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

North Korea launches ICBM missile: Trump responds in a relatively restrained manner

Trump on North Korean missile launch: ‘We will take care of it’, By Zachary CohenRyan BrowneNicole Gaouette and Taehoon Lee, CNN, November 29, 2017 Washington  North Korea issued a direct challenge to President Donald Trump with the launch of an ICBM missile that Defense Secretary James Mattis said demonstrates it has the ability to hit “everywhere in the world.”

November 29, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Michael Flynn’s nuclear role complicates the federal investigation into Russian interference in 2016 USA election

Michael Flynn’s role in Middle Eastern nuclear project could compound legal issues, Chicago Tribune, 27 Nov 17  Michael Kranish, Tom Hamburger and Carol D. LeonnigWashington Post In June 2015, retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn took a little-noticed trip to Egypt and Israel, paid for by a U.S. company he was advising. The company hoped to build more than two dozen nuclear plants in the region in partnership with Russian interests.

Flynn’s quiet involvement in that project – and his failure to disclose his ties to the effort – could complicate the legal issues facing President Trump‘s former national security adviser, who has signaled he may be willing to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Congressional Democrats say that Flynn may have violated federal law by failing to disclose the Middle Eastern trip in his security clearance renewal application in 2016. A top House Republican declined the Democrats’ request for a congressional inquiry but referred the allegations to the special counsel.

Last month, Mueller revealed that his wide-ranging investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has led to charges against three former Trump campaign officials. One of them, foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, has been cooperating, according to court filings.

There are now signs that Flynn – whose international dealings have been the subject of intense interest by the special counsel – may also be willing to share information with prosecutors. Last week, his attorney shut down communications with Trump’s legal team, a development many interpreted as suggesting possible cooperation with Mueller.

Investigators for the special counsel have been examining whether Flynn hid foreign business dealings, particularly work he did for Turkish interests during the campaign, according to people familiar with the probe.

The nuclear venture is yet another instance in which Flynn appeared to have a personal stake in an international project while he was advising Trump in 2016, giving prosecutors one more potential avenue to pressure him to cooperate.

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment. An attorney for Flynn declined to comment.

“General Flynn’s actions are part of a broader pattern of concealing his foreign contacts, payments, travel, and work on behalf of foreign interests,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. “The bigger question is this: What did President Trump know and why did he disregard all the red flags?”

The White House declined to comment.

Flynn served as an adviser to two Washington-based companies pursuing efforts to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East: ACU Strategic Partners, which proposed a partnership with Russian interests, and IP3/IronBridge, which later launched a separate endeavor that initially proposed working with China to build the infrastructure, according to federal documents and company officials………

It is a criminal offense to knowingly omit material information requested by federal officials conducting such a review.

An attorney for Flynn’s company told the committee that it would not provide documents about the Middle Eastern nuclear project unless it is subpoenaed, according to the letter.

Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, declined to issue a subpoena and instead referred the Democrats’ concerns to Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

“Much of what is sought by my Democratic colleagues — if properly investigated charged and proven beyond a reasonable doubt — would carry criminal penalties,” Gowdy wrote in his Oct. 18 letter, posted by the committee. “Congress does not, and cannot, prosecute crimes.”…….

Flynn, who was fired by President Obama from his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, became involved in ACU’s project in 2015, part of a group of former top military and diplomatic officials and nuclear experts the company assembled to help push its plan.

The idea: to build several dozen “proliferation-proof” nuclear power plants across Persian Gulf states. The plan relied heavily on Russian interests, which would help build the plants, as well as possibly take possession of spent fuel that could be used to build a nuclear weapon, according to people familiar with the project.

ACU’s managing director, Alex Copson, had been promoting variations of building nuclear facilities with Russian help for more than two decades, according to news reports. Copson did not respond to requests for comment, and ACU’s counsel, Don Gross, declined to comment.

ACU officials declined to identify its investors or answer questions on the record from The Post about whether it has foreign backing………

Around June 2016, according to his financial disclosure, Flynn ended his association with ACU and began advising a company called IP3/IronBridge, co-founded by retired Rear Adm. Michael Hewitt, a former ACU adviser.

IP3 initially proposed partnering with China and other nations on building nuclear power plants, rather than Russia, according to a company spokesman, who said the China component has since been dropped.

In August 2016, the company produced a PowerPoint presentation that included Flynn’s photo and former government title on a page titled, “IP3/IronBridge: Formidable US Leadership.” The document was labeled as a “Presentation to His Majesty King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz” of Saudi Arabia and displayed the seals of Saudi Arabia and the United States. The presentation was obtained by Democrats on the House Oversight committee, who made it public……..http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-michael-flynn-middle-east-nuclear-project-20171127-story.html

November 29, 2017 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

USA soldiers’ trip to a radioactive hell on Enewetak Atoll

  This concrete dome holds a leaking toxic timebomb

It was supposed to be a trip to paradise, instead it sealed their fate http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-28/the-toxic-legacy-of-a-deadly-paradise/9168422  These soldiers were ordered to clean up the toxic legacy of America’s nuclear program, now they’re dying, and their Government has abandoned them.Foreign Correspondent, By Mark Willacy   When Jim Androl landed on a remote central Pacific atoll to take part in the biggest nuclear clean-up in United States history, the only extra items his military superiors gave him were some flea powder and a pamphlet on how to avoid heat stroke.

The army did have special radiation suits and respirators for handling the left-over atomic waste on the atoll, but the young soldiers were only allowed to wear them on special occasions.

“The [protective suits] were for photo ops,” the former communications specialist with the US Army’s 84th Engineer Battalion recalls.

“I know once when I believe 60 Minutes was there, they did [let us wear them]. We were just issued our normal warm weather gear … shorts, tee-shirts, hats and jungle boots and that’s it.”

Androl was one of about 4,000 US troops sent to Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands between 1977 and 1979 to scrape up the contaminated remnants of the United States’ atomic testing program.

The US government decided to use soldiers for the clean-up, because employing specialist nuclear workers would have doubled the cost.

“I’d never even heard of Enewetak. I never knew that there were 43 nuclear tests out there,” Androl, who was 22-years old when he was deployed to the atoll, says.

Some of those bombs were the among the most powerful ever detonated, and they left behind a toxic legacy that will live on for thousands of years.

“One of the attempted nuclear weapons explosions didn’t work,” Michael Gerrard, the director of the Earth Institute at New York’s Columbia University, says. “So the plutonium was just broken apart by the conventional explosion, leading to about 400 little chunks of plutonium that were spread around the atoll.”

The plutonium on Enewetak has a radioactive half-life of more than 24,000 years, and the US clean-up troops were ordered to place the shattered pieces into plastic bags and dump them into a crater left behind by an old atomic bomb test.

One-millionth of a gram of plutonium is potentially harmful, and can cause cancer decades after first exposure.

“They’d have us walk around and pick up loose pieces, and just gather up whatever we could, throw it in a pile,” Androl says.

It’s estimated that 85,000 cubic metres of radioactive material was collected and dumped, including contaminated soil, concrete, and military equipment.

“It was a very dirty operation,” Ken Kasik, another of the men sent to Enewetak as part of the clean-up, says. “[The veterans are] all sick, they’re all dying, and it’s because of the radiation.”

Kasik can barely rise from his chair to greet me when I arrive to see him.

We were supposed to meet at his home in Hawaii.

But by the time I land, he is seriously ill in the intensive care unit in Honolulu’s Straub Medical Centre, and is tethered to drips and monitoring machines.

“About three-and-a-half years ago I had so many cancers on me, I couldn’t work anymore. They ripped me apart,” he says.

This time it’s not cancer that has forced Ken Kasik to be rushed to the ICU, but a brain aneurism he says is directly linked to his time on Enewetak and the atomic fall-out there.

“When those bombs go off, in Enewetak, that’s coral sand,” Kasik says. “That just gets pulverised and comes back down as baby powder, and it was on everything, everywhere. The guys would come home, take off their sunglasses, [and their faces] would be white.”

“I never had any clue that dust could literally get into your lungs,” Jim Androl says from his home in the suburbs of Las Vegas. “You breathe it, you drink it, you eat it, you swim in it. Every day for six months, 24/7.”

The problem for Enewetak clean-up veterans like Androl and Kasik, is that successive United States governments have refused to recognise them and their comrades as atomic veterans. This means they cannot access health benefits or radiation exposure compensation.

Other atomic veterans, like those involved in the original atomic testing program in the Pacific in the 1940s and 1950s that left behind the waste on Enewetak and Bikini atolls, were covered for more than 20 specific types of cancers.

“Our boys worked six-month tours on a dirty island, and the government says, ‘You were never there’,” Kasik says. “We were never acknowledged…we don’t exist.”

Like Kasik, Androl has suffered serious health problems over the years that he blames on his six-month tour at Enewetak.

“He had his gall bladder out … two weeks [later] they found a seven-and-a-half-pound tumour, cancerous tumour in his abdomen,” Androl’s wife Bev says.

“I suffer from roughly 40 to 45 residuals from the cancer,” Androl says. “I’ve got pancreatitis, I’ve got a spot on my liver that they’re watching.”

As well as cancers, veterans complain of brittle bones and even of birth defects in their children.

The US military insists there is no connection between veterans’ illnesses and the clean-up on Enewetak, saying their radiation exposure was well within safe limits.

A two-year campaign by Enewetak veterans to get Congress to give them medical benefits has been unsuccessful.

“I think mostly they’re trying to get health coverage, medical care because they’ve got terrible bills. Really high bills from hospitals, because of their treatment,” Giff Johnson, the publisher of the Marshall Islands Journal, the country’s only newspaper, says.

There has never been a formal study of the health of these men, many of whom are now in their late 50s and early 60s.

But an unofficial social media survey of more than 400 Enewetak clean-up veterans found that 20 percent had reported cancers of some type.

The life they live is a far cry from the photos Ken Kasik took at the time, of young men in their prime.

 “It just breaks our heart, You know, they’re dying before they’re 60. It’s ridiculous,” Bev Androl says.

A poison on our island

The Marshall Islands is once again grappling with its nuclear legacy, as the threat of climate change threatens to break open the dome.

“God, there’s been so many [who have died],” Androl says of his former comrades. “We just lost one two weeks ago. We lost one about six months before that. They told me I’d be dead by now. We’re nobody, we don’t matter, our family’s lives don’t matter.”

The people of the Marshall Islands also suffered terrible heath impacts from 12 years of atomic testing in their homeland, including increased rates of thyroid and other cancers, as well as birth defects.

Whole islands were evacuated, and many people are still not allowed to return to live in their home villages decades on.

Like the US clean-up veterans, the Marshallese who suffered were never properly compensated.

A nuclear claims tribunal set up by the Marshall Islands and the United States awarded more than $2 billion dollars to victims of the atomic testing program — less than $4 million was ever paid.

“America dumped all of their worst rubbish to the Marshallese, and abandoned them with it. And we don’t want to hear about it,” Kasik says.

“It’s a disgusting shame. It makes us look bad.”

November 29, 2017 Posted by | health, OCEANIA, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea moving fast to complete its nuclear weapons program – could be done within a year

North Korea may announce completion of nuclear program within a year: South Korea minister https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-southkorea-minist/north-korea-may-announce-completion-of-nuclear-program-within-a-year-south-korea-mi  SEOUL (Reuters) Reporting by Christine Kim and Hyonhee Shin – North Korea may announce the completion of its nuclear program within a year, South Korea’s unification minister said on Tuesday, as the isolated country is moving more faster than expected in developing its weapons arsenal.

“Experts think North Korea will take two to three more years but they are developing their nuclear capabilities faster than expected and we cannot rule out the possibility Pyongyang may declare the completion of their nuclear program in a year,” said Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon at a media event in Seoul.

November 29, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hawaii to test nuclear attack siren

 November 27 KILAUEA, Hawaii — As nuclear tensions between North Korea and the United States grow, officials in Hawaii are walking a delicate line — planning for a catastrophe while assuring residents and tourists alike that they can keep sipping beverages from coconuts without alarm.

The “without alarm” part gets harder Friday.

That is when the government is set to bring back a statewide nuclear attack siren, a relic of the Cold War that will notify islanders that a missile is headed toward them. Officials will test the system for the first time just before lunchtime Friday, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

If the alarm goes off at any other time, by the way, it means that residents have 15 minutes before a nuclear bomb destroys Hawaii as we know it. The tests will be conducted on the first business day of every month for the foreseeable future……. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/11/27/hawaii-brings-back-cold-war-era-nuclear-warning-sirens-amid-fears-of-north-korea-strike/?utm_term=.bd5f

November 29, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

EDF says individuals detained after breaking into Cruas nuclear plant

“All you need to do is make a hole (in the building) to start a fire,” Yannick Rousselet, Greenpeace France’s chief anti-nuclear campaigner told AFP.

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November 28, 2017

A group of Greenpeace activists broke into a French nuclear plant on Tuesday and scaled the walls of a building containing spent nuclear fuel to highlight security shortcomings at the facility.

Around 20 activists took part in the latest stunt by the environmental campaign group aimed at showing that France’s 58 nuclear reactors are vulnerable to attack.

The group said the protest at Cruas-Meysse plant in the southeastern Ardeche region, which has four reactors, proved that security around spent nuclear fuel pools was particularly lacking.

Four activists scaled one of the buildings containing pools used to cool highly radioactive spent fuel rods and set off flares.

“All you need to do is make a hole (in the building) to start a fire,” Yannick Rousselet, Greenpeace France’s chief anti-nuclear campaigner told AFP.

France’s state-owned energy giant EDF which operates the plant confirmed the intrusion but said that the plant’s safety was never in danger.

Regional security officials said 22 people were arrested, adding they had posed no threat.

The incident is the second of its kind in as many months.

In October, Greenpeace activists got inside a nuclear plant in Cattenom, near the border with Luxembourg, and set off fireworks at the foot of a spent pool.

Four Greenpeace activists scaled one of the buildings at the nuclear plant and set off flares

France is the world’s most nuclear-dependent country, with atomic providing 75 percent of the country’s electricity.

Around a third of all reactors in the country are set to be closed by 2025 under a government plan to boost renewables.

In a report in October Greenpeace noted that most of France’s nuclear plants were built before the rise of threats from non-state terror groups such as the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda and claimed that their defences were weak.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-greenpeace-alarm-nuclear-safety-break-in.html#jCp

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Search of Areva’s headquarters in connection with a sale of Nigerian uranium in 2011

I had an executives worst nightmare. My golden handcuffs prevented me from opening my golden parachute.

Paris (AFP)The headquarters of Areva, former French flagship of nuclear already in the heart of the scandal Uramin, was the subject of a search Tuesday as part of an investigation into an allegedly dubious sale of Nigerian uranium in 2011.

The search, which began in the morning at the headquarters of the company in the Paris business district of La Defense, ended around 21H00, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Areva “confirms a search” and “collaborates closely with justice,” said the group in the day, without giving further details.

This operation, carried out by the investigators of the financial brigade of the judicial police, relates to a Nigerian uranium brokerage case that had resulted in significant losses for Areva, told AFP sources close to the case .

The case, dubbed “Uraniumgate”, is the subject of a preliminary investigation opened by the National Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2015.

It broke out in February 2015 with the publication, in the Nigerian weekly Le Courrier, of documents relating to the sale in the fall of 2011 of a large quantity of uranium for $ 320 million.

The stock was initially sold by Areva to a Russian company, Energo Alyans, which later sold it to Optima Energy Offshore in Lebanon.

A few days later, Optima sold the uranium to Niger’s state-owned Niger Mines Corporation (Sopamin). Areva then bought this stock from Sopamin at a price much higher than the price at which it initially sold it.

Retrocommissions?

“It was a trading operation as part of an integrated offer,” said spokesman Areva Christophe Neugnot in April. Clearly, the French group was in contact with an operator interested in buying nuclear power plants who also wanted, in order to secure its supply, to obtain uranium.

“Finally, the sale of the reactor was not made, we bought the uranium”, with ultimately “a loss of 18 million dollars,” added Mr. Neugnot.

Investigators question the capital gains pocketed by intermediaries, including “$ 82 million for Energo Alyans (…), unknown to traders (and) who would have disappeared completely shortly after the facts”, d ‘ after the newspaper Jeune Afrique.

“They want to know if, in general, this montage could have been used to hide commissions or retrocommissions”, according to one of the sources close to the file.

The group is at the center of another investigation into the acquisition of a Canadian mining company, Uramin, which owns three uranium deposits in Africa, for which it paid 1.8 billion euros in 2007.

The operation had turned into a fiasco: after the departure of his boss Anne Lauvergeon, Areva had divided by five the value of the company and passed, at the end of 2011, a heavy provision of 1.5 billion euros.

This controversial buyout is at the heart of two judicial information. One relates to suspicions of fraud and corruption during the acquisition of Uramin, the other concerns the provisions inscribed by Areva, magistrates suspecting group officials for presenting inaccurate accounts to hide the collapse in the value of Canadian society.

Under the leadership of the French state, Areva is engaged in a vast restructuring. Its reactors business should notably come under the control of EDF by the end of the year.

These measures should enable it to recover from heavy setbacks attributable to the setbacks of the construction of its EPR reactor in Finland, the financial fiasco of the acquisition of Uramin and the sluggishness of the atom sector since the Fukushima accident. (Japan) in 2011.

Source French only

https://info.arte.tv/fr/afp/actualites/perquisition-au-siege-dareva-en-lien-avec-une-vente-duranium-nigerien-en-2011

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear sludge at Washington state site put in safer storage

November 28 at 1:33 PM

SNIP

The sludge left over from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons was transferred from the old single walled tanks into modern double wall tanks that are considered much safer, the U.S. Department of Energy said in a statement provided to The Associated Press Monday.

While the event is regarded as a major milestone for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the waste removed came from only one of the facility’s 12 tank farms containing radioactive waste.

A government contractor is in the final stages of removing waste from one of the tanks, which has a capacity of 530,000 gallons (2 million liters), the energy department said. It has stored waste since 1947 and officials suspect it has been leaking.

Cleanup of the waste at Hanford has been underway since the 1980s and is expected to last for decades, costing an additional $100 billion.

END SNIP

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/energy-environment/nuclear-sludge-at-washington-state-site-put-in-safer-storage/2017/11/28/9b341d68-d46a-11e7-9ad9-ca0619edfa05_story.html?utm_term=.66ccc9175c13

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vietnamese environmentalist Blogger gets 7 years in prison for writing about cyanide spill – Nguyen Van Hoa #UNHCR @amnesty

They said he was spreading anti-state propaganda.

Blogger Nguyen Van Hoa was handed a seven-year prison sentence by a court in Vietnam for reporting on the aftermath of one of the country’s worst environmental disasters.

Hundreds would get sick as a result of eating fish that had been swimming in cyanide-tainted water.  The chemical spill originated with the factory Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, while simultaneously threatening the livelihoods of workers in the fishing and tourist industries.

In addition to writing about the spill and ensuing protests, Hoa produced videos in the wake of the disaster that began when the Taiwan-owned steel plant sent cyanide, carbolic acids and other deadly toxins out into the South China Sea, reaching 120 miles of coastline, The New York Times reports.

Formosa Ha Tinh Steel

The 22-year-old was arrested in April for disseminating material critical of Vietnam’s one-party government before his brief trial that ultimately ended in a guilty verdict.

After admitting to flushing its chemicals into the water, Formosa Ha Tinh Steel agreed in July 2016 to pay $500 million to compensate for the 70 tons of fish that were killed off and the devastating effect the spill had on the tourism sector.

Joining Hoa behind bars is fellow blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who was sentenced to 10 years for similar charges in June.

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh on trial in June in the south central province of Khanh Hoa, Vietnam

Quynh wrote about the Formosa spill as well as other issues such as Chinese economic influence in the country, including the controversial construction of a Beijing-backed bauxite mine.

According to Human Rights Watch, over 105 people are in prison for criticizing the government and engaging in protests.

https://firenewsfeed.com/news/798545

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Playing cards marked with radioactive iodine 125 — Berlin police arrest woman

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German police have arrested a 41-year-old woman on suspicion of rigging card games by dousing specific cards with iodine-125. The cards could then be recognized by a gambler carrying a concealed detector.

German police on Tuesday revealed that they had raided a Berlin restaurant after a trail of radioactive card fragments found at a waste treatment plant was traced back to the premises.

It was there that authorities uncovered and confiscated 13 other cards with traces of the radioactive substance iodine-125, a nuclide commonly used in medicine. A club center, karaoke bar, some offices and an apartment were searched.

Read more:German city of Aachen offers iodine tablets amid nuclear fears

According to the police, the woman was involved in a scheme to rig card games. One of the players would carry a detector under their clothing enabling them to identify certain cards. Police said they were investigating how much the fraudsters might have netted.

Reports suggest that the raided restaurant did not have a gambling license.

The 41-year-old suspect from Berlin’s Marzahn-Hellersdorf district remains under investigation, and could face a fine and up to five years in prison.

Authorities played down the risk of any damaging health effects to those who came in contact with the cards. Even from half a meter away, the dose of radiation on the card could no longer be detected.

However, two local Berlin government agencies said that they had taken precautions by shutting the restaurant and contracting a specialist renovation company to have it cleaned.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine-125

http://www.dw.com/en/playing-cards-marked-with-radioactive-iodine-berlin-police-arrest-woman/a-41569792

 

Nuclear Hotseat notes for 22 Feb 2017 Iodine 131 in Europe, the evidence!

,,,,,,,,“In November 2011, for example, iodine-131 had been detected in air in several European countries and the survey4 had led to the rejection of iodine-131 from a radioisotope production institute in Budapest ( Hungary). Measurements carried out by the CRIIRAD laboratory in November 2011 confirmed a significant contamination of the vegetation with iodine-131 and iodine-125 in Budapest, several kilometers from this nuclear site.”,,,,,,,,,

Criirad file on the January 2017 release in French concerning Halden nuclear research reactor in Norways September 2016 radioactive Iodine release (use Google translate); http://balises.criirad.org/pdf/CP%20%20CRIIRAD%20170214%20%20I131%20Europe.pdf

,,,,,,,,Eurdep radiation mapping mostly gets switched of when there is an unintended release. This is done by the IAEA to protect the nuclear industry and have it seem in a better light.,,,,,,,,    https://europeannewsweekly.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/nunclear-hotseat-notes-for-22-feb-2017-iodine-131-in-europe-the-evidence/

 

Italian case about stolen medicine affects Denmark

29 August 2014

21 stolen packages of medicine from Italy have probably been sold on the Danish and German markets. The Danish Health and Medicines Authority has asked the company to recall the medicine (the batch).

The stolen packages contain the medicinal product Abilify®, oral solution, 1 mg/ml, which is used for the treatment of schizophrenia and mania. Up to 21 of the packages have been repacked by the company EuroPharmaDK and then sold on the Danish and German markets.

Stolen medicinal products are by definition falsified – even if they are manufactured in the right way – because they have been distributed outside the legal distribution chain. Consequently, we have asked the company to recall any unsold packages of the medicinal product (the batch) from pharmacies.

In connection with its control during the repackaging, EuroPharmaDK found no signs that the contents of the stolen medicine packages have been manipulated. The medicinal product is very stable and there are no special storage requirements. Against this background, we assess that the quality of the medicinal product has not been affected. We recommend that patients in treatment with Abilify oral solution from EuroPharmaDK continue the treatment.

Italian case about stolen medicinal products

The case about stolen medicinal products was first mentioned on our website in April 2014; at that time the case was about cancer medicine.

As the investigation progressed, it was found that the case also involved other types of medicine that were not sold in Denmark. The case is still being investigated in Italy in collaboration with other European authorities. A number of illegal companies have distributed the stolen medicinal products in the legal distribution chain in Europe.

We follow the situation closely and cooperate with other European drug regulatory authorities. When we get new information about the stolen medicine, we will investigate whether the medicine has been distributed to Danish pharmacies or consumers.

Stolen from hospitals in Italy

The medicine was stolen from hospitals and during transportation in Italy. Illegal companies using false authorisations in several European countries then sold the medicine in the legal distribution chain. After having been sold in the legal distribution chain again, the medicine could potentially have been distributed between several authorised wholesalers, all of which have bought the products in good faith just like EuroPharmaDK.

At present, no Danish companies have traded directly with the illegal companies.

So far the investigation in Italy has revealed that the following illegal companies have distributed medicines without holding a valid authorisation:
1. CARNELA LIMITED str. Michalaki Karaoli 8, Nicosia, Cyprus, VAT CY10308068X
2. ABLE POWER INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS str. Podmaniczky Utca 57. 2/14, Budapest, Hungary
3. AVIMAX HEALTH AND TRADE KFT Fòti U. 4 Szàm, HU-2161 Csomàd, Hungary, VAT HU24206028
4. MARS DISTRIBUTIONS KFT Tompa M. Utca 9, HU-8360 Keszthely, Hungary, VAT HU11779074
5. EURORIGA MED Import Export – str. Akademika Mstislava Keldisa Iela 12-158, Riga, Latvia, VAT LV40103517211
6. LATVAMED INTERNATIONAL Imp. Exp – str. Akademika Mstislava Keldisa Iela 12-158, Riga, Latvia, VAT LV40103572887
7. PERSONAL COMMODITY RINGSIDE Municipiul Arad, str.Tribunal Dobra n.18 Judet Arad, Romania, Fiscal code RO31031066 dated 19.12.2012
8. ZEAPHARMA S.R.L , Municipiul Targu Jiu, Victoriei, bloc196, scara 3, etaj 2, ap. 10, Judetul GORJ, Romania (note: Zeapharma is authorised as pharmacy, not as wholesaler)
9. EXIMP AZ – sro, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
10. PIRAMID D.O.O Brniceva Ulica 31, 1231 Ljubljana, Slovenia, VAT 61869937
11. TAIN D.O.O Nova Gorica, str. Kridiceva Ulica n.19, Slovenia, VAT 76488632
12. HILDONS, Feidiou 3, Thessaloniki Greece, VAT number EL 800528668

The below companies holding a valid authorisation have traded directly with the non-authorised companies and then distributed the medicine to a number of European countries:
1. FARMA GLOBAL SNC Via Boscofangone Snc, 80035 Nola, Napoli, VAT 06474151211
2. FARMACEUTICA INTERNAZIONALE SRL Via Dell’industria Snc, 83030 Pietradefusi, Avellino, VAT 02715470643
3. FARMACIA COZZOLINO DI MARIO & CIRO S.N.C. – Corso Italia 15, 80056 Ercolano, Napoli, VAT 02778921219
4. FARMACIA DELLA ROCCA Via Sottotenente Ernesto Cirillo 207, 80041 Boscoreale, Napoli, VAT 06345681214
5. PHARMA-TRADE SPA, Via Roma,12 (Operative site: Via S.Abbondio, 158), 80045 Pompei (NA), VAT 07034161211
6. PHARMASEA Ltd. 11, Dingli Street, Sliema, Malta

The purpose of the further investigation is to unravel the supplier chain following these wholesalers.

https://laegemiddelstyrelsen.dk/en/news/2014/italian-case-about-stolen-medicine-affects-denmark/

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukui Governor OK to Restart Kansai Electric’s Oi Nuclear Plant Reactors N°3 & N°4

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The No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear plant in Oi, Fukui Prefecture
Fukui gives OK to restart of Kansai Electric’s Oi nuclear plant
FUKUI–Kansai Electric Power Co. has cleared all hurdles toward restarting two reactors at its Oi nuclear power plant early next year after gaining the consent of the prefectural governor here Nov. 27.
The utility plans to resume operations of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in January and March, respectively.
“I have agreed to the restart after taking into account the position of the Oi town government and Fukui prefectural assembly, as well as the response by the central government and the operator of the plant concerning our request to have an interim storage site for spent nuclear fuel to be built outside the prefecture,” Governor Issei Nishikawa told reporters here the same day.
Nishikawa signed off on Kansai Electric’s request following similar moves by the town government of Oi, which hosts the Oi nuclear plant, the town assembly and the prefectural assembly.
In response to the governor’s request concerning the storage site, Shigeki Iwane, president of Kansai Electric, has already pledged to offer a proposed alternative site next year.
Industry minister Hiroshige Seko, too, vowed that the central government will be involved in drawing up the plan.
Nishikawa pushed for the construction of the interim storage facility outside the prefecture as a condition to agreeing to the restart of the Oi plant.
Five reactors are now operating in Japan after clearing new nuclear regulations established in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Two of the reactors are at Kansai Electric’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture.
The Fukui District Court, citing safety concerns, ordered a halt to the operations of Oi’s No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in May 2014.
But Kansai Electric appealed the decision and has since been gearing up to restart the units.
Fukui Gov. OKs restart of 2nd plant in prefecture
FUKUI, Japan (Kyodo) — Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa on Monday gave the go-ahead for Kansai Electric Power Co. to restart two reactors at its Oi nuclear power plant in the central Japan prefecture.
With Fukui also hosting Kansai Electric’s Takahama plant where two reactors have already resumed operation, the planned restart of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Oi complex would make the prefecture the first since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to have two active nuclear power plants.
The governor conveyed the decision to Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko over the phone Monday.
The Osaka-based utility plans to bring the No. 3 reactor back online in mid-January and restart the No. 4 unit in mid-March.
The two reactors located on the Sea of Japan coast resumed operation in July 2012 under tentative nuclear safety standards set by the then-Democratic Party of Japan government while all other reactors in the country remained idle for checks following the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi complex.
The two reactors at the Oi complex went offline in September 2013 for regular checkups and cleared the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety review based on the country’s post-Fukushima screening standards in May.
The Fukui governor’s approval of the restart came after Kansai Electric President Shigeki Iwane said Thursday the utility would decide by the end of 2018 where to set up a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel.
The governor had been requesting the utility’s construction plan for the facility.
Speaking at a press conference, Nishikawa said he has come to the decision after “comprehensively considering opinions of our town and prefectural assemblies as well as responses of the government and the plant operator to an idea of setting up an interim storage facility outside our prefecture.”
The central government is yet to pick a final disposal site for nuclear waste, including spent fuel.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohihide Suga said in a separate press conference it is “extremely meaningful” that the plan to restart the two reactors in Oi has now received approval from the hosting prefecture’s governor.
Suga, however, declined to clarify the government’s stance on the opposition voiced by Taizo Mikazuki, governor of neighboring Shiga Prefecture.
About 20 antinuclear activists gathered in front of the Fukui prefectural government office Monday to show their opposition to the decision.
Jiku Miyazaki, a 73-year-old temple master in Oi, expressed concerns about whether residents can safely evacuate if a nuclear accident occurs.
“Under the current conditions, we won’t be able to evacuate,” Miyazaki said, citing troubles residents encounter when typhoons strike the region.
“We want them to take measures in view of the possibility of the two nuclear plants having accidents at the same time.”
Some residents hope for the economic benefits that an influx of plant workers could promise local businesses.
A man in his 50s said, “Our life here is depending on (the plant). As long as the governor judges it is safe, we need it to be restarted or we will be in trouble.”

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Japan is poised to release into the Pacific one million tons of radioactive water contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

Fukushima’s radioactive water grows by 150 tons a day and Japan doesn’t know what to do with it. Scientists vs fishermen and locals conflict.
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Japan is poised to flood the Pacific with one million tons of nuclear water contaminated by the Fukushima power plant

Japan urged by experts to gradually release radioactive water into Pacific Ocean
Comes more than six years after tsunami overwhelmed Fukushima nuclear plant
The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks 
But if the tank breaks, the contents may not be able to be controlled 
The Japanese government is being urged by experts to gradually release radioactive water in to the Pacific Ocean more than six years after a tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks and could spill should another major disaster strike. 
The government has been urged to release the water into the ocean as all the radioactive elements of the water except tritium – which has been said to be safe in small amounts – have been removed through treatment. 
But if the tank breaks, the contents may not be able to be controlled. 
Local fishermen are extremely hesitant to this solution because many consumers are still uncertain to eat fish caught off Fukushima, despite tests that say the fish is safe to eat. 
Today only about half of the region’s 1,000 fishermen go out and just twice a week because of reduced demand.  
Fumio Haga, a drag-net fisherman, said: ‘People would shun Fukushima fish again as soon as the water is released.’ 
Lab technicians mince fish samples at Onahama port in Iwaki, pack them in a cup for inspection and record details such as who caught the fish and where. 
Packaged fish then sold at supermarkets carry official ‘safe’ stickers.
Only three kinds of fish passed the test when the experiment began in mid-2012, 15 months after the tsunami. 
Over time, that number has increased to about 100.
The fish meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirement: less than half the radioactive cesium level allowed under Japan’s national standard and one-twelfth of the US or EU limit, said Yoshiharu Nemoto, a senior researcher at the Onahama testing station.
The amount of radioactive water at Fukushima is still growing, by 150 tons a day.
The reactors are damaged beyond repair, but cooling water must be constantly pumped in to keep them from overheating. 
That water picks up radioactivity before leaking out of the damaged containment chambers and collecting in the basements.
There, the volume of contaminated water grows, because it mixes with groundwater that has seeped in through cracks in the reactor buildings. 
After treatment, 210 tons is reused as cooling water, and the remaining 150 tons is sent to tank storage. 
During heavy rains, the groundwater inflow increases significantly, adding to the volume.
The water is a costly headache for Tokyo Electric Power Co, the utility that owns the plant. 
To reduce the flow, it has dug dozens of wells to pump out groundwater before it reaches the reactor buildings and built an underground ‘ice wall’ of questionable effectiveness by partially freezing the ground around the reactors.
Another government panel recommended last year that the utility, known as TEPCO, dilute the water up to about 50 times and release about 400 tons daily to the sea – a process that would take almost a decade to complete. 
Experts note that the release of radioactive tritium water is allowed at other nuclear plants. 

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment