Socialist Worker

An industry based on lies, deceit and cover-ups

Issue No. 2243

Nuclear safety breaches aren’t only caused by earthquakes. Nuclear power is dangerous—but bosses cover up safety fears and cut corners because they are only interested in profit.

A fire at the Windscale (now Sellafield) site in Britain in 1957 spewed radiation into the environment.

The extent of the leak was censored and even the wind direction record was falsified.

British Nuclear Fuels Limited in 1999 falsified safety reports to export fuel to Japan (see MOX box right).

In the late 1990s, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) admitted falsifying safety reports to conceal cracks in the core structures of its reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa—the world’s biggest nuclear power plant.

A Japanese government report in 1990 said that the

likelihood of a serious accident at a facility was one in 100,000 years. Two months later, 55 tons of radioactive water at a nuclear plant leaked.

In Britain there were 57 “incidents” at nuclear power stations between 1997 and 2006.

They ranged from radiation leaks and failure of machinery to contamination of ground water and a fire.

In 2005, uranium and plutonium dissolved in nitric acid leaked for several months from a cracked pipe at the Thorpe nuclear reprocessing plant in Sellafield. Earthquake aftershocks in 2007 knocked over 400 drums containing nuclear material at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Japan and unleashed

radioactive material. The company tried to conceal the leak.

Tepco also admitted the facility hadn’t been designed to withstand strong earthquakes. It had previously justified this by claiming the plant hadn’t been built in an active earthquake zone.

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