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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tokyo Electric Power Company Cover-Up

The operator of the Fukushima reactors, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), is in serious trouble. Not only because their share price has dropped by half, but Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan is furious that he wasn't notified immediately that a serious explosion had taken place after the earthquake. "What the hell is going on?" he asked last week when he finally caught up with Tepco officials. "Retreat is unthinkable" he told them, thinking they were going to completely abandon the stricken reactor site. It was a strange situation, company officials didn’t have any answers to the questions being asked at the press conferences, and would say things like "Hang on, we'll check on that."

After an earthquake in 2007, Tepco had to shut down a plant in the Niigata Chuetsu-Oki area when they had to admit it had not been designed to cope with earthquakes. In 2002, the company was found to have falsified nuclear safety data at least 200 times which led to the resignation of company president, Nobuya Minami and a number of board members. Since Tepco’s new President Masataka Shimizu took over, there has been little change.

WikiLeaks has revealed there is grave concern about all the nuclear power companies operating in Japan and accuses Japan's ministry of economy trade and industry of "covering up nuclear accidents."

The Americans have around 104 nuclear power stations but Australia only has one nuclear reactor and it's in the Sydney Metropolitan area of Lucas heights. Over the years the focus of the facility has changed to a broader range of nuclear activities including uranium mining, nuclear medicine and nuclear research, industrial uses and environmental management of former uranium mining sites. Yesterday, Science Minister Kim Carr asked department officials to make sure that occupational health and safety practices were in place.