Yuji Suzuki, a 56-year old employee of the Japanese Ministry of the Environment in Fukushima Prefecture in charge of overseeing decontamination activities after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was arrested on charges of alleged bribery along with the former president of the construction firm that provided the bribe.

It has been reported that Suzuki received transportation, accommodations, meals and entertainment at fancy restaurants and seedy nightclubs, racking up a bill of several hundred thousand yen.

The federal funding for decontamination in Fukushima Prefecture has turned into a good way for companies to cash in on the nuclear disaster. Mikio Kosugi, the former president of the Toyama Prefecture construction company hoped that the bribe would help him win more contracts and funding from the government.

The Japanese Ministry of the Environment has admitted that the scandal could corrode public trust in the decontamination efforts, but that the agency will try to win back the trust of the nation.

Source: NHK

Source: Kyodo

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KGO Radio: Host Pat Thurston recently interviewed Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer for Fairewinds Energy Education on KGO radio to discuss the latest challenging news from Japan about the Fukushima Daiichi atomic power reactor including the high levels of radiation emanating from the reactors, all the failed robotic expeditions, where we should go from here, as well as how ongoing radioactive releases from the Fukushima Daiichi site may be impacting the west coast of the United States.

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BBC Newsday: BBC Radio interviewed nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen to discuss TEPCO’s attempts to send a special robot into Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #2 in Japan to investigate the obstacles in the way of TEPCO’s progress determining the location and condition of the atomic fuel. Unfortunately even this specially designed robot failed in its attempt to clear the path for additional investigations as the nuclear radioactivity was so high, it shut down the robots before they could complete their mission.

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(Source: Reuters) Director General Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency talks to the Media

Published Thursday March 17th, in Reuters by Tom Miles

BEIJING—Eighteen months before Japan’s radiation crisis, U.S. diplomats had lambasted the safety chief of the world’s atomic watchdog for incompetence, especially when it came to the nuclear power industry in his homeland, Japan.

Cables sent from the U.S. embassy in Vienna to Washington, which were obtained by WikiLeaks and reviewed by Reuters, singled out Tomihiro Taniuchi, until last year head of safety and security at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“For the past 10 years, the department has suffered tremendously because of (deputy director general) Taniguchi’s weak management and leadership skills,” said one dispatch on Dec. 1, 2009.

“Taniguchi has been a weak manager and advocate, particularly with respect to confronting Japan’s own safety practices, and he is a particular disappointment to the United States for his unloved-step-child treatment of the Office of Nuclear Security,” said another, which was sent on July 7, 2009.

The IAEA does not comment on the contents of leaked cables.

The evidence of concern about the Japanese national surfaced as his country scrambled to avert a lethal spread of radiation from earthquake-damaged nuclear reactors north of Tokyo.

Japan’s crisis has brought scrutiny of its nuclear authorities and, in particular, the operator of the stricken reactors, which has a history of falsifying data at its plants.

Separate cables quoted a Japanese lawmaker as telling visiting U.S. officials in October 2008 that power companies in Japan were hiding nuclear safety problems and being given an easy ride on commitments to renewable energy by the government.

Taro Kono, a supporter of renewable energy who in 2009 bid unsuccessfully for leadership of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), also said Japan had no solution for nuclear waste storage. He asked if there was anywhere appropriate to store waste given that Japan was the “land of volcanoes.”

Kono was not immediately available for comment.

TOKYO ELECTRIC HAS ROCKY PAST

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant now at the centre of the crisis – the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) – has had a rocky past in an industry plagued by scandal.

Five TEPCO executives resigned in 2002 over suspected falsification of nuclear plant safety records and five reactors were forced to stop operations.

In 2006, the government ordered TEPCO to check past data after it reported finding falsification of coolant water temperatures at its Fukushima Daiichi plant in 1985 and 1988, and that the tweaked data was used in mandatory inspections at the plant, which were completed in October 2005.

The risk of earthquakes and tsunamis was already well known before last Friday’s massive earthquake, but many of Japan’s nuclear power plants, including the now-crippled Fukushima complex, were built before the most modern safety standards.

An unnamed IAEA official told the G8 Nuclear Safety and Security Group in December 2008 that guidelines for seismic safety had only been revised three times in the past 35 years and that the IAEA was re-examining them, another WikiLeaks cable showed.

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Environmental groups demand investigation

Published February 10th, 2017 By Matthew Strong in Taiwan News

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An Italian businessman dumped radioactive nuclear waste in the ocean near Taiwan in the 1990s, according to documents from an Italian intelligence service declassified Wednesday.

The information was contained in 61 documents from SISMI, an Italian military intelligence department, which were submitted to an Italian parliamentary investigation commission, according to the Italian media.

The reports named Giorgio Comerio as a businessman who made a fortune by sending ships loaded with nuclear and other dangerous materials to the bottom of the sea in the Mediterranean and near Somalia and Taiwan.

Comerio began collaborating closely with the government of North Korea around 1995, the documents said. In return for the payment of US$227 million (NT$7 billion), he disposed of 200,000 barrels of radioactive waste, whose final resting place must be the ocean near Taiwan, according to SISMI.

Taiwanese environmental groups demanded the government launch an investigation of its own into the allegations and conduct tests to determine whether the dumping of waste had impacted Taiwan’s environment and the condition of the ocean. The government should also find out the precise location where the Italian company dumped the waste, activists said. The Cabinet’s Atomic Energy Council replied it was not aware of the practice described in the SISMI documents.

Between 1989 and 1995, an estimated 90 ships carrying nuclear waste were sunk in the Mediterranean, and as recently as 2003, the intelligence service presented a report to the Italian government saying that two ships loaded with industrial waste and other toxic materials had arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

Two reporters from Italian state broadcasting network RAI who were investigating similar deals were killed in Somalia, leading to parliamentarians pressuring the government to release more documents about the transportation of dangerous waste products.

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