First quarter of 2001
Belgonucleaire hit by quality-control default suspicion
WISE-Paris, 19 January 2001 (modified 2 February 2001)
Green Action, Press release, 16 January 2001
MOX manufacturer Belgonucleaire in Dessel, Belgium, is suspected of
quality-control data falsifications. Around 2000 citizens together with
NGOs, Greenpeace Japan, the CNIC (Citizen's Nuclear Information Center)
in Tokyo and Tokyo Electric Citizens Group, filed a lawsuit against
the Japanese company, Tokyo Electric (Belgonucleaire's client), following
analysis carried out on data concerning 32 PWR MOX assemblies that arrived
in Japan in September 1999 together with some BNFL MOX. The case consists
in an injunction against loading of the Belgian incriminated MOX. While
the BNFL fuel is to be returned to Britain, the Belgonucleaire fuel
remains unused due to a Kansai Electric decision of 16 December 1999.
According to the Japanese NGOs irregularities have also been found among
28 Belgonucleaire BWR assemblies scheduled for imminent departure from
Cherbourg (France) to the Kashiwazaki power plant, operated by TEPCO
(Tokyo Electric Power Company). The NGOs are asking for the release
of the entire quality-control data in order to lift any doubts.
is the Green Action press statement on the issue, released on 16 January
TEL: 075-701-7223 - FAX: 075-702-1952
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16 January 2001
MOX Fuel Confronted with Falsification Accusations, Lawsuit, Referendum
Effort in Japan
- Analysis Reveals Belgonucleaires
MOX Quality Control Data Highly Suspicious of Being Manipulated
- Referendum Effort on MOX Fuel Announced
in Kariwa Village, Niigata.
- Injunction Lawsuit Continues in Fukushima
release: 16 January 2001
Mioko Smith Mobile +81-90-3620-9251
On the eve of departure from Cherbourg France to Japan, Belgonucleaires
MOX (mixed plutonium uranium oxide) fuel manufactured for Tokyo Electric
is facing accusations of quality control data falsification, a referendum
effort, and an injunction lawsuit in Japan aimed at blocking use of
MOX fuel already delivered from Belgonucleaire to Fukushima prefecture,
A recent mathematical
analysis of the Belgonucleaire MOX fuel for both Tokyo Electrics
Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 3 and Fukushima I-3 nuclear power plants reveals
that there is major suspicion that the quality control data measurements
for pellet diameters have been manipulated. The analysis was made by
Dr. Hideyuki Koyama, director of the citizens organization Mihama-no-Kai,
and lecturer of mathematical sciences at Osaka Prefecture University.
The analysis was submitted to the Fukushima District Court for Dr. Koyamas
testimony on 26 December 2000. All 14 lots of Fukushima I-3 (BWR) fuel
were analysed for their pellet diameter quality control measurements.
Four lots were found to be highly suspicious, while two additional lots
were also found to be of concern. Both Fukushima and Niigata nuclear
safety authorities are on record recognizing the importance of the lawsuit.
also been found for four of the MOX fuel lots bound for Kashiwazaki-Kariwa
(BWR): KK3-1759, KK3-1773, KK3-1776, and KK3-1782. [All 18 lots were
analysed.] The 28 assemblies of the Kashiwazaki MOX fuel is scheduled
to depart Cherbourg, France for Niigata, Japan shortly. Tokyo Electric
has, to date, not rebutted the claim in court that the fuel is tainted.
Dr. Hideyuki Koyama
states, "Clearly, there are irregularities with both Belgonucleaires
Kashiwazaki and Fukushima MOX fuel. These irregularities point to the
fact that some type of manipulation has taken place. Rather than preparing
to ship the Kashiwazaki MOX fuel, Belgonucleaire and Tokyo Electric
should release the quality control data without a moment to waste."
fuel for Fukushima (32 assemblies) arrived in Japan in September 1999
and has remained unused as a result of the 1999 discovery that MOX fuel
manufactured by BNFL for Kansai Electrics Takahama Unit 4 reactor
(PWR, 8 assemblies) arriving at the same time was found to have pellet
diameter measurement quality control data which had been falsified.
Japanese citizen groups centered around Mihama-no-Kai, and Green Action
were largely responsible for analysing the BNFL data and discovering
the falsification for the Kansai Electric fuel. Use of the fuel was
abandoned by Kansai Electric on 16 December 1999. The fuel is to be
returned to BNFL in Britain.
"What we are
demanding is release of the Belgonucleaire data. Without the data the
suspicion will remain. We are concerned that history is repeating itself
here. In 1999, citizen findings of BNFLs data falsification were
not heeded by the European nuclear industry, Japans Ministry of
International Trade and Industry, and the Japanese utilities. Instead,
their response was to attempt to cover-up the falsification. But this
failed. If any lessons were learned, the same should not happen again
with Belgonucleaire fuel. The accusation about the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa
fuel is serious and must be answered by Belgonucleaire and Tokyo Electric
" said Aileen Mioko Smith, director of Green Action.
continue in various locations in Japan in opposition to the use of Belgonucleaire
fuel. Over 1100 citizens are currently suing Tokyo Electric in the Fukushima
District Court seeking an injunction to prevent the use of the Belgonucleaire
fuel manufactured for Tokyo Electrics Fukushima I-3 nuclear power
plant. The next hearing is scheduled for 30 January. The number of plaintiffs
continue to increase.
On 14 January, citizens
and legislators of Kariwa village (the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 3 plant is
located in both municipalities) announced a referendum drive to begin
on 4 February. The referendum will seek a "Yes/No" vote of
the village constituency on the use of MOX fuel at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa
nuclear power plant. Hayato Kitaoka, a Kashiwazaki City Assembly legislator
stated, "MOX use and MOX shipments are in and of themselves unsafe.
Tokyo Electric and the Japanese government are ignoring citizen opposition,
the court case against use of the fuel, and findings that the fuel is
suspect. This industry is bad for the citizens of both Europe and Japan,
the natural environment, and the peoples of countries on the shipment
route. MOX fuel production and use should be terminated."
On 13 January, Niigata
media reported citizen accusations of "Suspicion of Falsification"
for Belgonucleaire fuel. Green Action, Mihama-no-Kai, and Greenpeace
Japan met with both Niigata prefecture and Kashiwazaki city nuclear
safety authorities, reviewing the Koyama findings at length. A petition
was submitted by the organizations to both authorities seeking release
of the Belgonucleaire data, and opposition to the impending shipment
Explanation of methodology used
in the Koyama analysis:
In the case of the
BNFL data falsification scandal, BNFL made public both the total pellet
diameter measurement data and the random sampling quality control data
for the Takahama Unit 4 MOX fuel. Citizens detected falsification by
inputting both sets of data into a computer and comparing the two graphs
created by the data. If no manipulation had taken place, the quality
control random sampling data would have fundamentally matched the total
pellet data since the random sampling was from the total pellet data.
However, lots with non-matching graphs were found, thus leading to the
substantiation that the fuel had been falsified.
In comparison to
the BNFL case, the quantity and type of data revealed by Belgonucleaire
for MOX fuel it manufactured for Tokyo Electric has been extremely limited.
Dr. Koyama took the limited data, mathematically analysed it, working
to re-generate what the actual graphs of the quality control
data would look like had the data been made public.
Since the total
pellet diameter measurement data is said to have been erased from the
computer by Belgonucleaire, Koyama used the next best comparison available:
the normal distribution curve. Belgonucleaire has also not revealed
the random sampling quality control data with the measurement unit actually
used to measure the pellets: 1 micron. Instead, Belgonucleaire has presented
histograms compiling the data into 4 micron increments. This can mask
irregularities in the data if they exist. (MITI in a meeting with citizens
on 13 December 2000 agreed that this procedure could mask irregularities.)
Therefore, since the 1 micron data is not available and the 4 micron
data would mask irregularities if these existed, Koyama worked to "resurrect"
the 1 micron data from the 4 micron increment data by using a quadratic
function at every 4 micron interval. This was then compared to the normal
Koyama first used
as an example the BNFL fuel that had already been proven to have been
falsified. He then analysed the data backwards for this fuel, changing
the 1 micron units to 4 and using the quadratic function at every 4
micron interval. Results comparing this graph to the graph which plotted
the actual falsified fuel showed that his analysis could partially resurrect
the irregularities. Since Koyamas analysis of Belgonucleaires
MOX fuel pellet measurement quality control analysis is limited by the
limitations of the data available, it cannot reveal all the irregularities,
in fact it can only point to irregularities having taken place. In other
words, Koyamas analysis would point part way to the full irregularities
if and when they exist.
One example: KK3-1773