Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Widening scandal at Japan's Kyushu nuclear firm

Dozens of workers at Japan's Kyushu Electric Company posed as citizens and lobbied for a power plant to be reopened, an internal inquiry says.

A whistleblower last week revealed that some 50 workers had sent e-mails to a televised debate backing a plan to restart Kyushu's Genkai plant.

But the firm's internal inquiry has found more than 100 employees may have been involved.

Two-thirds of Japan's 54 reactors have been idle since the 11 March quake.

The 9.0-magnitude tremor, and the massive tsunami it triggered, wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi plant and sparked a review of the country's nuclear industry.

All the nuclear plants that were closed for routine inspections were ordered to stay closed until their safety could be guaranteed.

The plant at Genkai, in the south, was one of the first plants scheduled to be reopened.

But the government's announcement last week of more rigorous tests across the board scuppered the firm's attempts to have the reactors restarted. (read more)