Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Japanese utility faked nuclear data for decades

AP , TOKYO

Japan's largest utility operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), admitted on Wednesday that it falsified data at its nuclear power plants for three decades in an attempt to easily pass compulsory government inspections.

TEPCO said it discovered falsifications of technical data on nearly 200 occasions from 1977 to 2002 at three nuclear power plants, and reported them to the Trade and Industry Ministry as requested.

It said it also found three cases of improper modifications at two thermal plants.

However, those modifications did not affect plant safety, the company said in a statement on its Web site.

The falsifications have passed the three-year statute of limitations and the company is likely to escape punishment, Kyodo News agency reported.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged the ministry to determine how the falsifications were possible, and called on TEPCO to come up with measures to prevent a reoccurrence.

"Residents around the plants feel unsafe over the fabrications. They need to be able to trust in the safety of nuclear power," Abe told reporters last night.

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