On July 20, Shingo Matsuo chairman of Kyushu Electric Power Company announced that Toshio Manabe the president of the firm will resign to take responsibility for problems related to the utility’s attempts to win local approval for restarting two nuclear reactors, and the way in which the results were manipulated.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he investigation into utilities in Japan and whether or not they have been colluding to promote nuclear power in public meetings has been running into difficulties in getting information.
It appears that once documentation is requested and identified, the utilities are working as hard as they can to destroy the evidence, leading many to believe that the damage is more extensive than initially thought.
A panel investigating attempts by Kyushu Electric Power Company to manipulate public opinion via an e-mail scam says that the utility has destroyed evidence related to the probe.
The panel was set up after workers at Kyushu Electric and its affiliates were found to have sent e-mails in favor of restarting the Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture during a government meeting with local residents in June.
Panel head Nobuo Gohara told reporters on Tuesday that the utility destroyed documents related to its activities in 2005 to try to win public support for using plutonium-uranium mixed-oxide fuel at the plant.
He said the utility’s nuclear energy division removed and destroyed the documents on July 21st.
Gohara added that the company’s Saga branch tried to dispose of 15 files his panel had requested last week after beginning the probe.
Gohara claims that Akira Nakamura, the deputy head of the nuclear energy division, ordered the destruction of documents that could cause trouble to individuals.
Nakamura also allegedly played a role in the e-mail scam.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 16:57 +0900 (JST)
The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry gave its permission on Sept. 7 2005 for the pluthermal plan at the Genkai plant’s No. 3 reactor — a 1,180-megawatt pressurized-water reactor currently using low-enriched uranium dioxide as fuel.
Plant owner Kyushu Electric Power Company signed a contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in September 2006 for the supply of MOX fuel for Genkai unit 3 – a 1127 MWe pressurized water reactor that began operating in 1994. MHI then subcontracted the manufacture of the fuel to France’s Areva, which made the fuel at its Melox plant. Genkai took delivery of the first 16 MOX assemblies in May this year and plans to increase the number in use to 48 of the total of 193 assemblies in the core. Production of a further 20 MOX assemblies began at the Melox plant in early June.
On 21 February 2010, citizens held a public meeting in Saga prefecture, where the Kyushu’s Genkai nuclear power plant is located, to announce filing of a civil lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit is expected to be filed by Kyushu residents sometime in March 2010 and will seek to terminate the use of MOX fabricated by AREVA‘s MELOX plant. This lawsuit is a continuation of the citizen protest campaign that submitted over 460,000 signatures to the Saga prefecture legislature in September 2009, asking the prefecture to refuse MOX fuel use at the Genkai plant.
Genkai Nuclear Power Plant Events
July 17, 1998 there was a leakage in the Condenser of Unit 1 while operating at full power. The problem caused the plant to be run at a lower power for some time.
January 20, 1998 In Unit 3 during a routine test, leakage of one fuel assembly was discovered.
March 31, 1999 There was a problem in Unit 2 with damage to pressure tubes of the Steam generator.
December 11, 2010, There was a radiation leak at the Genkai nuclear Power plant which uses plu-thermal fuel, which is more unstable and dangerous than enriched uranium fuel. Initial reports did not release the extent of the radiation leak.
On July 20, Shingo Matsuo chairman of Kyushu Electric Power Company announced that Toshio Manabe the president of the firm will resign to take responsibility for problems related to the utility’s attempts to win local approval for restarting two nuclear reactors, and the way in which the results were manipulated. The board of directors’ planned a meeting on July 27 to decide about the punishments for the executives and other officials involved, and the date of the resignation. On July 22 industry minister Banri Kaieda made a comment, “that it is natural for a top official to take the blame“. But Shingo Matsuo denied that the minister had put pressure on Manabe to resign.