Tuesday, October 17, 2017

More on Kobe Steel Scandal and Unanswered Questions About Nuclear Supply Chains

I wondered whether Kobe steel was used in the Westinghouse nuclear reactors being built in South Carolina and Georgia.

The World Nuclear Organization reports that the Vogtle plant in Georgia and the Summer plant in South Carolina are both building Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. These reactors are modular in construction:

Nuclear Power in the USA (Updated 12 October 2017) World Nuclear Organization. Available, http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/usa-nuclear-power.aspx (accessed October 17, 2017)

So, where does Westinghouse get the steel for construction of the modular, pre-fabricated components of its AP1000 reactors?

After spending more than an hour looking in multiple databases, I am not able to find the answer to this question. Its clear that Kobe steel made a delivery to Fukushima Daiini but outside of that disclosure I find it hard to trace its role in the nuclear supply chain. Here is the news report on delivery of Kobe steel to Daiini:
Yuka Obayashi October 15, 2017 As crisis at Kobe Steel deepens, CEO says cheating engulfs 500 firms. Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kobe-steel-scandal/as-crisis-at-kobe-steel-deepens-ceo-says-cheating-engulfs-500-firms-idUSKBN1CL011

Nuclear power plant parts are the latest to join the list of affected equipment as Fukushima nuclear operator Tokyo Electric Power (9501.T) (Tepco) said on Friday it had taken delivery of pipes from Kobe Steel that were not checked properly.   The pipes were delivered to its Fukushima Daini station, located near the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi plant, but have not been used, Tepco said, adding it was checking all its facilities.

Searching for information on Kobe steel in Westinghouse reactors, I discovered a blog post addressing a Greenpeace statement focusing concern on the tolerance safety of steel used in Japanese and European reactors:
Shaun Burnie, Senior Nuclear Specialist, Greenpeace Germany (2017, October 13). Kobe Steel in Japanese Nuclear Plants, http://www.fukushima-is-still-news.com/2017/10/kobe-steel-in-japanese-nuke-plants.html
The revelations of deliberate falsification at Kobe Steel follows a major scandal involving two other steel suppliers to the nuclear industry, Japan Steel Works and JCFC. Steel manufactured by these two companies was under investigation in France and Japan, following revelations of falsified quality control supplied to French nuclear reactors. The underlying manufacturing problems were not resolved following Greenpeace investigations despite assurances in that the components were safe by the French regulator.(2)...
...Zirco Products Co., Ltd, a joint owned subsidiary of Kobe Special Tube Company and Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. and based in Shimonoseki, also supplies zirconium alloy fuel cladding tubes which are used in Japan and globally to contain fuel rods inside nuclear reactor cores.
Here is the Greenpeace post, dated 2016:
Japanese Reactor Steel at Risk of Catastrophic Failure - JCFC, JSW and JFE Holdings under Suspicion プレスリリース - 2016-12-13 Greenpeace, http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/ja/news/press/2016/pr201612131/ 
13 December 2016, Tokyo - Major components installed in all Japanese nuclear power reactors are at risk of catastrophic failure, due to potentially flawed manufacturing and quality controls exercises at the forging stages, technical assessment commissioned by Greenpeace Japan has concluded. Documents supplied to the Japanese nuclear regulator, (the NRA) by the Japan Casting and Forging Company (JCFC), Japan Steel Works (JSW) and JFE Holdings all show the potential for excess carbon in their large steel forged components, so called positive macrosegregation, according to a report by nuclear engineering consultancy Large&Associates of London.(1)
Tracing the supply chain for steel used in Westinghouse AP1000 reactors is going to be more time consuming than I can afford at this point but it is clear from the available evidence that there has been widespread fraud in quality certification in steel and other metals used in nuclear plant construction.

Moreover, this is not a new problem but has been going on for years, as reported here:
Stephen Stapczynski, Ichiro Suzuki , and Masumi Suga October 17, 2017, Kobe Steel is Said to Have Likely Faked Data for Over a Decade, Bloomberg, available at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-17/kobe-steel-is-said-to-have-likely-faked-data-for-over-a-decade

Kobe Steel Ltd. said it will co-operate with the U.S. Department of Justice after the agency requested documents related to the fake data scandal that risks engulfing Japan’s third-biggest steelmaker.

Kobe has said some 500 companies worldwide are in a supply chain tainted by admissions that it falsified certifications on the strength and durability of metals going back to 2007, including automotive giants Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. and the U.S.’s biggest plane maker, Boeing Co. The besieged Japanese company said in a statement it can’t yet quantify the impact of the crisis on its earnings. 


  1. America is becoming more like Japan. Allowing insane elites to drag us into oblivion. Trump is now polling below 30%. Even the media sycophants say he is at 32% or below. How much more degradation, will americans take?


  2. Abe's support hovers around 28%. Komeito strong arms its members for support. Corporations strongarm workers in Japan. The government uses hard-core lies, high-pressure proopaganda to stay in power. Pure fraud.
    Trump appeals to the 20% of Americans that make more than $200,000 or more. His support is probably not even 20% because not all educated professionals, in higher income brackets support him.

    The hype, lies, manipulations, poll fudging, now are unbelievable. Sooner or later, people who realize they are being suckered so badly turn. Especially as the crap illusions around them, collapse.

  3. These devils, are destroying their countries.

  4. Now trump wants nuclear war with Korea and Iran. perhaps Abe does too. Both countries: The usa and Japan have turned to racism and nuclear and warmongering post fukushima is this TPTB plan?
    George W Bush 1. Murdered a million Iraquis 2. Turned america into a full blown police state 3. Destroyed the world economy at his wall street buddy and banker buddies request.

    Lord knows the Orange Haired Zombie is full-out to start world war three. The thing is also pillaging what is left of America. It is hell-bent on turning America into a nuclear wasteland, like Japan.

    From Counterpunch
    One of the worst of trumps myriads of lies His Big Bowe Bergdahl lie

    "Bowe Bergdahl: Traitor to American Exceptionalism and White Supremacy


    Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s guilty plea begins the end of this phase of an embarrassing, sad and morally absurd saga of American history. Sergeant Bergdahl, who was dismissed from the Coast Guard because of mental illness, recruited into the Army in spite of such issues, and then sent to the frontlines of Afghanistan where he walked away from his base and was captured, kept as a prisoner, and tortured by the Taliban for nearly five years, has been offered almost no compassion, sympathy or forgiveness by large swaths of the American public, political classes, veterans and the media.

    The shameful blood-crazed calls for vengeance against Sergeant Bergdahl, screamed across Fox News, talk radio and Twitter, by millions of Right Wing Americans have begun again today with Sergeant Bergdahl’s guilty plea. Despite an army investigation finding no Americans were killedby Sergeant Bergdahl’s departure of his unit; despite the Pentagon admitting it was known that Sergeant Bergdahl was in Pakistan within a few days of his capture, thus negating the validity of the Right Wing talking points of continuous search missions for Sergeant Bergdahl that jeopardized American lives; despite the general who led the investigation of Sergeant Bergdahl’s disappearance stating Sergeant Bergdahl should not be punished and the colonel who led the Army’s version of a grand jury trial recommending the same; despite the United States military’s top prisoner of war expert testifying that Sergeant Bergdahl endured more tortureat the hands of the Taliban than any American prisoner of war has endured since the Vietnam War, undoubtedly due to his multiple escape attempts and unwillingness to cooperate with his kidnappers; and despite repeated calls made by President Trump for Sergeant Bergdahl to be executed, as well as calls for retaliation against the military if Sergeant Bergdahl is not sent to jail by Senator John McCain, clear and blatant forms of wrongful and illegal command influence prohibited by military law against a defendant, Sergeant Bergdahl finds himself today having entered a guilty plea and putting himself at the mercy of a US Army judge.

    In time, Sergeant Bergdahl may become just a footnote to America’s wars in the Muslim world, wars that have killed well over a million people since 2001, but his individual story relays the fundamental truths of these American wars against Sunnis and Shias, and Arabs, Africans and Pashtuns, (nearly all the people we have killed, maimed and made homeless have been Muslim and dark skinned) that there is no logic to our violence, only the unending and insatiable requirement for more war and more destruction, and there is no forgiveness in this loudly and righteously proclaimed Christian nation, only the scapegoating of a young man and his family for the failures of immoral and unwinnable wars on the murderous altar of the twin godheads of American Exceptionalism and White Supremacy. "


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