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Bribery scandals in Japan’s nuclear power sector

Executives in Japan Nuclear Scandal Blame Dead Local Official. By Aaron Clark.  Stephen Stapczynski, and Shiho Takezawa  news,com,au October 3, 2019

  • Kansai Electric officials took $3 million in cash and gifts
  •  Payments came from deputy mayor of town hosting nuclear plant

Top Japanese utility executives who admitted to taking illicit payments related to their nuclear business sought to deflect blame onto a deceased local official and vowed to stay in their roles, potentially deepening the nation’s latest corporate governance scandal.

Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Chairman Makoto Yagi and President Shigeki Iwane spent more than three hours Wednesday detailing in a public briefing how they and 18 other executives received nearly 320 million yen ($3 million) in cash and gifts, including suits and gold, from a former deputy mayor in the western town Takahama, which hosts the company’s biggest nuclear plant. They didn’t return the payments because the official, who died in March at the age of 90, wielded influence and intimidated employees, they said.

The Kansai Electric payments are the latest-high profile exposure of corporate malfeasance in Japan, which include the arrest last year of Nissan Motor Co.’s chairman for concealing more than $140 million in compensation and Kobe Steel Ltd.’s indictment in 2018 for falsifying quality data. It also follows the acquittal last month of executives charged with negligence related to the Fukushima meltdown, which has loomed in the background of the nation’s worst nuclear scandal since the 2011 disaster…….

Nuclear Nerve

That the drama is playing out in the nuclear power industry touches a raw nerve in Japan, where the technology has been shunned since the trauma of Fukushima. Public opinion has consistently been opposed to restarting the nation’s reactor fleet, once the biggest source of atomic power in Asia, as trust in the both the industry and regulators hasn’t recovered………

Gold, Suits, Cash

The company also revealed new details Wednesday of the gifts and cash Moriyama gave to executives from 2006 to 2018. Satoshi Suzuki, director of the utility’s nuclear power division, received the most at 123.7 million yen, which included 500 grams of gold and 14 suits, as well as $35,000 in U.S. currency.

Kyodo News also reported that Yoshida Kaihatsu, a local company that paid Moriyama money that was funneled to officials, won contracts worth at least 2.5 billion yen for work at Kansai’s nuclear power plant. Moriyama was also a part-time adviser for a Kansai Electric unit from 1987 through December last year.

October 4, 2019 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA’s stranded plutonium nuclear wastes

Post & Courier 30th Sept 2019  Dogged by faulty assumptions and lacking political will, the federal
government squandered billions of dollars and an opportunity to dispose of the nation’s most dangerous nuclear material by chasing a massive construction project in South Carolina that was doomed from the start.
Instead, the U.S. Department of Energy stranded a huge stockpile of plutonium — the lethal metal at the core of nuclear weapons — at a federal installation on the state’s wooded western edge, with plans to
leave it there for decades.

October 4, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear company EDF denounced by France’s economy minister as a “state within a state”

Times, 30 Sept 19  President Macron’s economy minister has accused the French state-owned
company building Britain’s new nuclear plant of “unacceptable” failings as he threatened sweeping change at the group.
Bruno Le Maire said yesterday that the French nuclear sector was like “a state within a state” and he
denounced cost overruns and delays in the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor in Somerset and similar projects in Flamanville in Normandy and Olkiluoto in Finland. “We will not accept this drift month after month, year after year,” Mr Le Maire said.
His words appeared to weaken the position of Jean-Bernard Lévy, 64, who was given a second
four-year term as chief executive of EDF by Mr Macron in February. Mr Le Maire said that he had ordered an independent audit into the French nuclear industry, which provides about 75 per cent of nation’s electricity, and into the decision to build a new generation of the increasingly questioned European pressurised reactors in Britain, France, Finland and China.
 The conclusions will be delivered on October 31, he said. The audit will interest Whitehall, given that the EPRs being built in Somerset are supposed to supply 7 per cent of Britain’s electricity. EDF said last week
that Hinkley Point C would cost £3 billion more than expected and may not meet its latest launch date of 2025, which is already eight years late.
The glitches at Hinkley Point C come after setbacks at Flamanville, which initially was due to come on stream in 2012 at a cost of €3.3 billion, but which will not now be linked to the grid until 2022 at the earliest at a cost of at least $10.9 billion. The Finnish plant was scheduled to be operational in 2009, but is still not complete.

October 4, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | 2 Comments

North Korea launches missile into waters near Japan days before nuclear talks set to resume with U.S.

LA Times By VICTORIA KIM, STAFF WRITER OCT. 1, 2019, SEOUL —   North Korea fired a ballistic missile Wednesday that landed in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, less than 200 miles from the Japanese coast, according to the South Korean military and the Japanese coast guard.

The launch came a day after North Korea said it would resume nuclear talks with the U.S. this weekend. The last time a North Korean missile landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone was LA Times November 2017…….

October 4, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian government warned about taxpayer burden if it chooses nuclear power

Nuclear inquiry hears cost, health risks    By AAP Oct 1, 2019  Taxpayers would be bear the brunt of a potential nuclear energy industry in Australia, a parliamentary committee has been told.

Environment groups began the inquiry on Tuesday in Melbourne, a day after the committee was told the potential economic benefits of more uranium mining.
The various witnesses implored the bipartisan committee not to overturn Australia’s moratorium on nuclear energy, pointing to the huge health, environmental and financial risks.
Anti-nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia Jim Green said a potential industry would have to be propped up with subsidies because investors would steer clear of such a risky investment.
“Nuclear companies would descend on Canberra to try to gouge as much taxpayers’ money as they could possibly get from the federal government,” he said.
Dr Green told the politicians to be wary of submissions talking up emerging small modular reactors, particularly when calling them clean energy. “There isn’t even one prototype operating anywhere in the world,” Mr Green said.
The committee should also be sceptical about a company’s financial estimates of building them, he added.  “Add a zero onto the end and there’s a good chance your estimate will be better.”
The committee is looking at whether nuclear power is a feasible, suitable and palatable solution for Australia’s future energy needs.
The inquiry has so far been told a huge range of facts and figures – at times contradictory – from a wide spectrum of groups, industries and individuals.
Margaret Beavis from the Medical Association for Prevention of War highlighted that nuclear waste has to be stored for about 10,000 years.  “The Egyptian pharaohs were about 5000 years ago,” Dr Beavis added.
The environment groups pointed to a joint submission with scores of other civil society bodies including unions, indigenous representatives, health and faith groups.The submission represents millions of Australians who want a renewable energy future, not a radioactive one, the committee heard.
The inquiry will take place in Adelaide on Wednesday before a hearing in Perth on Thursday.

October 4, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, politics | Leave a comment