alloy, AREVA, COGEMA, cover-up, falsification, Fukushima, GE International, General Electric International, India, inspection records, Japan, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear, Le Creusot Forge, METI, Minnesota, MOX, NISA, nuclear accident, nuclear disaster, nuclear fuel geometry, nuclear inspections, nuclear reactor shroud, nuclear safety scandal, plutonium, Prairie Island, primary coolant, reactor pressure vessels, records, repair records, Russia, Schneider Forge, substandard materials, Switzerland, TEPCO, testing, USA, USNRC, water, whistleblower
The below Japanese scandal, which came to light almost one decade before Tepco’s Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, sounds eerily similar to the ongoing Areva-Le Creusot nuclear parts scandal. Some of the suspect Areva-Le Creusot Forge (formerly Schneider Forge) parts are of reactor pressure vessels. One reactor pressure vessel which Schneider Forge made for Beznau I (in Switzerland) reportedly has almost 1000 defects due to what may be a combination of aging and substandard quality. The US NRC demonstrates its usual devil may care attitude. Potentially defective parts include the reactor pressure vessels made by Schneider Forge for Prairie Island Nuclear Power Station, at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, and within yards of an American Indian Reservation. Is this why they don’t care? Does French state owned Areva have something on the US NRC? Areva is presumably liable for Schneider Forge defects. That is the same Schneider who shifted to electronics and has sold 100s and probably 1000s of defective breakers to Nuclear Power Stations in the US and elsewhere: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/05/21/us-and-s-korea-nuclear-power-stations-impacted-potentially-impacted-by-defective-schneider-masterpact-breakers-lists/ A subsidiary of Russian State owned Rosatom has also allegedly sold defective nuclear reactor parts to India and probably elsewhere (e.g. Bulgaria, China). Only some activists, including scientists, in India are drawing attention to the Russian scandal, it seems. This has a list of nuclear reactors with cracked shrouds: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/cracked-nuclear-reactor-shroud-warning-toll/ Who made these cracked shrouds?
In 2002 the Japan Times reported:
“Tepco begins checking reactor shroud for cracks
KYODO SEP 25, 2002 ARTICLE HISTORY FUKUSHIMA – Tokyo Electric Power Co. started checking Tuesday for cracks in the core shroud of a reactor at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant here.
According to WISE-Paris, 6 September 2002:
“The ongoing investigations have yet to determine the real extent of the falsifications. The document released by NISA on 29 August 2002 reported 29 cases of suspect inspections and repair records, concerning thirteen boiling water reactors (BWRs) in the three nuclear power plants of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, Fukushima Dai-Ichi (number 1) and Fukushima Dai-Ni (number 2) (2). Although the cases involve other damages, most of them are cracks in the vessel « shroud ». The shroud is a stainless steel cylinder made of carbon steel plates that are curved and then welded together, contained in the reactor vessel and surrounding the core. It is destined to regulate the flow route of the primary water which is led from outside of the core shroud to the core by jet pumps, and to maintain the fuel assemblies geometry between the top guide and the bottom core plate. If some of the concealed cracks have been repaired since, it seems that the problems TEPCO failed to report were never fixed in at least eight cases.
Cracks in the reactors vessels shrouds are due to unsufficient resistance of alloy to corrosion and appear particularly in the welding zones. They constitute potential sources of major accidents since they can lead to perturbations of the primary coolant flow as well as damages on the fuel assemblies. Although NISA denied there was immediate safety risk due to the situation of the eight reactors left unrepaired, it recognized the potential severity of the problems. (3)
The first announcement by NISA included falsification of records from the late 1980s to the 1990s, running over a period of 14 or 15 years. But since the 29 of August, ongoing official and media investigations have already uncovered more cases, continuing up to 2001. After cracks in the shroud of the Fukushima Dai-Ni Unit 3 reactor were reported to METI during the summer of 2001, instruction was given to all utilities to check for similar cracking at other reactors. In its report to METI about the subsequent inspections, TEPCO covered-up the existence of cracks in the shrouds of three reactors in Fukushima (Dai-Ichi, Unit 4, and Dai-Ni, Units 2 and 4), and concealed the full extent of the cracking in the Dai-Ni Unit 3 shroud.” Emphasis added. Read the rest here: http://www.wise-paris.org/index.html?/english/ournews/year_2002/ournews020907.html&/english/frame/menu.html&/english/frame/band.html
“Japanese nuclear safety scandal uncovered
Feature story – 30 August, 2002
Japan’s largest nuclear utility has announced that there has been a safety cover-up for decades at its nuclear power plants. This is a devastating blow to an already embattled nuclear industry with global implications.
People the world over oppose nuclear power and scandals such as these show nuclear power cannot be trusted.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced that there had been a failure dating back to the 1980’s and through the 1990’s to conduct vital safety inspections at their nuclear reactors and that results of tests had been deliberately falsified. The country’s nuclear program, as well as any future business prospects for the two European plutonium companies – British Nuclear Fuels and Cogema [now Areva] are now in serious doubt. Japan is the world’s third largest commercial nuclear power operator, with the largest construction program for new reactors and plans to use thousands of kilograms of plutonium in its reactors.
One immediate consequence of the news was the indefinite postponement of plans by Tokyo Electric to introduce controversial plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel into one of its reactors during September this year. This was announced by TEPCO President Nobuya Minami at an emergency press conference held in Tokyo last night.
The announcement by TEPCO was made solely due to the efforts of a former worker from the company that did the inspections, General Electric International Inc. The ‘whistleblower’ informed the Japanese Ministry for Trade, Industry and Economy (METI) in July 2000. METI has claimed in a statement that it has been investigating the extent of the problem since then. However, this is confirmation that the Japanese Government withheld vital nuclear safety information for at least two years, while claiming their reactors were safe.
One of the problems that has come to light is corrosion of the reactor core shroud, but TEPCO did not inform the Japanese Government for at least one year. The safety cover-up and falsification goes beyond the core shroud and other vital components in TEPCO’s reactors. TEPCO was planning to load MOX into one of its reactors later in September, defying opposition from local citizens who feared it was not safe. It has emerged in the last week that the reactor into which TEPCO was planning to load MOX, has been found to have serious corrosion in a vital component of the reactor.
Japan’s nuclear industry and Government has been exposed once again as ignoring fundamental safety problems at their nuclear reactors – risking catastrophic accident and the lives of tens of millions. This is only the start of the scandal. There is a lot more to be revealed and the industry and Japanese Government safety authorities will have to be forced to release all relevant information. It is confirmation once again that the nuclear industry is inherently dishonest and cannot be trusted. The ramifications of this latest news will be felt around the world,” said Kazue Suzuki of Greenpeace Japan
The immediate postponement of TEPCO’s plutonium program is a further blow to the business prospects of British Nuclear Fuels and Cogema, both were desperate to secure contracts with Japan. Currently BNFL is shipping a cargo of rejected plutonium MOX fuel from Japan after they lied to their largest Japanese client over vital safety quality control data. The only reason BNFL is making the shipment, and why the UK Government agreed to a compensation package of over 100 million sterling to Japan, was on the basis of Japan signing contracts for MOX with BNFL.” (Emphasis our own). Original here: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/features/japanese-nuclear-safety-scanda/
The CNIC explains: “The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) points out in their report that cracks that completely penetrated the shroud affect the flow of water coolant during regular operation, which could lead to a disruption of the coordination of power output and the water flow (NRC, 1996). Also, the NRC warned that significant problems concerning safety could be triggered when the shroud is demolished and separated due to the pipe rupture accident at the main steam pipe or recirculation pipe, which disrupt the function core spray system and control rod drive“. http://www.cnic.jp/english/newsletter/nit92/nit92articles/nit92shroud.html