After decades of sterling grins and nuclear juice, TEPCO is finally being realized as the crooked, careless atom-monger it is. Jake Adelstein and Stephanie Nakajima detail the Fukushima-botching monopoly's glowing green underbelly over at The Atlantic Wire.
The piece delves into TEPCO's history of coverups, conspiracy, and outright lies to the Japanese government and public—the latter they've recently exposed to dangerous (and still unknown levels of) radiation, through countless mismanaged attempts to control Fukushima's reactors.
One former TEPCO nuclear engineer is quoted describing the company's deliberate evasion of (already lax) government regulation: "We submitted (video) tapes to TEPCO for METI, edited with visual cracking [of equipment] intentionally omitted per TEPCO request." The plants were dangerous, and TEPCO did nothing about it. Why? Safety's expensive.
But a track record of intentional hazard isn't the only rotten isotope TEPCO's hiding. The same engineer describes the use of Yakuza gang members, hired directly by TEPCO from criminal shell companies, as a regular practice. Thugs were given the worst equipment and the most dangerous jobs, considered expendable drones when it came to radiation exposure. When questioned about their open hiring of gang members, TEPCO replied with an almost tongue in cheek shrug: "We don't have knowledge of who is ultimately supplying the labor at the end of the outsourcing. We do not have organized crime exclusionary clauses in our standard contracts but are considering it." I hope they do indeed consider it!
And. perhaps worst of all, the government knows all about it. But they've spent so long cuddled up next to their pet nuclear monopoly that it looks like they're too scared or limp to do anything about its malfeasance. Six decades of glad-handing apathy can't be done overnight. And neither can Fukushima's radioactive leakage. [The Atlantic Wire, Photo: Getty/Athit Perawongmetha]