Lesson to be learned

You can’t run a safety-critical power plant with a FOR-PROFIT company:

On August 29, 2002, the government of Japan revealed that TEPCO was guilty of false reporting in routine governmental inspection of its nuclear plants and systematic concealment of plant safety incidents. All seventeen of its boiling-water reactors were shut down for inspection as a result. TEPCO’s chairman Hiroshi Araki, President Nobuya Minami, Vice-President Toshiaki Enomoto, as well as the advisers Shō Nasu and Gaishi Hiraiwa stepped-down by September 30, 2002.[6] The utility “eventually admitted to two hundred occasions over more than two decades between 1977 and 2002, involving the submission of false technical data to authorities”.[7] Upon taking over leadership responsibilities, TEPCO’s new president issued a public commitment that the company would take all the countermeasures necessary to prevent fraud and restore the nation’s confidence. By the end of 2005, generation at suspended plants had been restarted, with government approval.

In 2007, however, the company announced to the public that an internal investigation had revealed a large number of unreported incidents. These included an unexpected unit criticality in 1978 and additional systematic false reporting, which had not been uncovered during the 2002 inquiry. Along with scandals at other Japanese electric companies, this failure to ensure corporate compliance resulted in strong public criticism of Japan’s electric power industry and the nation’s nuclear energy policy. Again, the company made no effort to identify those responsible.