After Fukushima: A Survey of Corruption in the Global Nuclear Power Industry

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Investigations of the Fukushima nuclear power accident sequence revealed the man-made character of the catastrophe and its roots in regulatory capture effected by a network of corruption, collusion, and nepotism. A review of corruption incidents in the global nuclear industry during 2012-2013 reveals that the Japanese experience is not isolated. Gross corruption is evident in nuclear technology exporting countries such as Russia, China, and the United States, and in a number of nuclear technology importing countries. The survey results make clear that national nuclear regulatory regimes are inadequate and that the global regime is virtually completely ineffective. Widespread corruption of the nuclear industry has profound social and political consequences resulting from the corrosion of public trust in companies, governments, and energy systems themselves.

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... Overall, when analysts began pointing out the deficiencies of the nuclear regulatory system in Japan as the main cause for the resulting Fukushima accident, those claims were also based on incidents such as the ignorance of expert predictions about a potential natural disaster to happen and the opacity and lack of inclusion of the public concerning nuclear decision making, (Slayton & Clark-Ginsberg, 2018;Wang & Chen, 2012b). Furthermore, Tanter (2013) highlighted that the capture of the Japanese regulatory system resulted to a great extent from "a network of corruption, collusion, and nepotism" (Tanter, 2013, p. 475). He thus reviewed more cases of corruption that allegedly occurred in the nuclear industry worldwide between 2012 and 2013 and found that Japan is not the only case of potential regulatory malfunctioning (Tanter, 2013;cf. ...
... Furthermore, Tanter (2013) highlighted that the capture of the Japanese regulatory system resulted to a great extent from "a network of corruption, collusion, and nepotism" (Tanter, 2013, p. 475). He thus reviewed more cases of corruption that allegedly occurred in the nuclear industry worldwide between 2012 and 2013 and found that Japan is not the only case of potential regulatory malfunctioning (Tanter, 2013;cf. also Wang & Chen, 2012a). ...
... Incidents of fraud or standard violation were reported for many countries that are actively involved in the nuclear industry. Sometimes corruption was found in direct connection with nuclear firm officials, as in Russia for example, sometimes indirectly, meaning that heads of other corporate divisions who are close to the nuclear department were accused of venality, as was the case in Canada, for instance (Tanter, 2013). Other states where non-conformance or deficiencies in the relation between nuclear regulators and the industry were found include France, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Jordan, South Africa, Egypt, and Pakistan, among others (Tanter, 2013). ...
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This thesis provides an in-depth analysis of EU nuclear safety governance (NSG) using a single case study approach. For the first part, the EU's nuclear safety architecture was examined applying a governance-theoretical framework. For the second and third part of this thesis, the central features of EU NSG were evaluated concerning EU NSG's effectiveness and legitimacy. Looking at the central features of the EU's nuclear safety architecture, it was found that EU NSG exhibits strong features of experimentalist governance. Broad safety goals are determined, the national regulatory authorities and nuclear operators are responsible for the implementation of those provisions, several peer reviews and reporting obligations are in place, and the results of those reviews are used to revise and improve the initial safety goals. A hierarchical element exists in form of the European Commission's ability to launch infringement proceedings. However, this poses no real threat to the MSs' autonomous decisionmaking concerning the concrete implementation as they remain the sole executives for EU nuclear safety directives. The evaluative analyses brought to light that the EU's performance concerning its effectiveness is suffering from a gap between the experimentalist manner in which policies and safety provisions are formulated and their actual implementation on the ground. Nevertheless, most of the obligatory measures are implemented and various good practices throughout the EU were documented over the years. As experimentalist governance blurs the boundaries between input, throughout, and output legitimacy, EU NSG was examined regarding its transparency and opportunities for public participation. It was found that the overall transparency level is quite positive. Particularly sensitive issues, such as complete incident reports, are not publicly available, which decreases the public's ability to hold the industry, governments, and the EU institutions fully accountable. In terms of EU NSG's input legitimacy a mixed picture emerged. While manifold opportunities exist for the public to take part in decision-making or review processes, EU citizens are not using them as much as they could. It was concluded that the overall performance of EU NSG is good, regarding both its effectiveness and legitimacy, but improvements should be made in the future on a continuous basis.
... This often results in top-down planning that takes place without public consultation and in which technicians and government officials can make costly decisions with no accountability. Global experience of the industry illustrates that manufacturers of nuclear technology are at high risk of being drawn into corrupt activity and are regularly embroiled in scandals (Tanter, 2013). ...
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Following the release of the Public Protector’s State of Capture Report in November 2016, South Africans have been witness to an explosion of almost daily revelations of corruption, mismanagement and abuses by those entrusted to lead the nation. The extent of this betrayal is overwhelming and it is often difficult to distil what actually happened during the Zuma administration. This book draws on the insights and expertise of 19 contributors from various sectors and disciplines to provide an account of what transpired at strategic sites of the state capture project. The ongoing threat of state capture demands a response that probes beyond what happened to understanding how it was allowed to happen. The stubborn culture of corruption and misgovernance continue to manifest unabated and the predatory practices which enable state capture have not yet been disrupted. It is our hope that the various case studies and analyses presented in this book will contribute to confronting these shortcomings in current discourse, and open avenues for progressive deliberation on how to collectively reclaim the prospects of a just and prosperous South Africa for all.
... For example, some claim that corruption in the Russian nuclear industry is responsible for up to 40 per cent of domestic NPP costs, endemic safety problems and non-compliance within an already weak regulatory regime. 64 One notable corruption case that had profound implications for the safety of Russian nuclear industry exports occurred in 2012, involving ZiO-Podolsk, a manufacturer of steam generators and heat exchangers. Investigations revealed that 2.5 million euros of 'pipe sheets, reactor bottoms and reservoirs' supplied, including steel for high-pressure heaters for Bulgaria's Kozloduy NPP, were in fact low-grade steel, passed off as certified higher-grade steel. ...
The article focuses on the rise of state-supported nuclear reactor vendors in Russia, China, and to a lesser extent, South Korea, in the nuclear export market and its implication for developing country newcomers. It tackles the phenomenon in three parts. First, the article provides a historical overview , highlighting key milestones that have contributed towards the rise of these 'emerging' nuclear reactor vendors and the burgeoning interest of newcomer developing countries. Next, the article identifies the main reasons newcomers appear to be drawn to emerging vendors instead of their more familiar Western counterparts. The article ends by highlighting several strategic considerations for newcomers as concerns emerging vendors in the key areas of nuclear energy governance, nuclear technology development, industrial capacity and national security.
... But to secure this contract, South Korea's Korea Electric Power Corp, the state-owned energy group, reportedly 'bid at about 20 per cent beneath the industry average', in essence offering a loss-leader, and its ability to continue such low-cost reactors and finance them have been questioned (Chaffin 2011). Another problem for South Korea might be the evidence of widespread and systemic corruption in its nuclear industry that came to light in 2012 (Tanter 2013). South Korea has not won any other reactor export orders after the UAE one, although, as mentioned earlier, it has entered into a preliminary agreement with Saudi Arabia to do a feasibility study. ...
This chapter addresses the question of whether nuclear power can be a part of a sustainable energy transition by examining the present state and future prospects of nuclear energy. Currently nuclear power constitutes only a small and declining share of global electricity. This is a result of the dual challenges of high economic costs of nuclear power and negative public attitudes toward it. The chapter then describes some of the strategies adopted by the nuclear industry and its supporters to maintain and expand nuclear power in the face of this reality, including actively courting developing countries, offering new reactor designs, and extensive use of propaganda. It concludes that despite this contestation, nuclear power does not fit well into a world based on sustainable energy.
... But South Korea has not won any other reactor export orders, although in early 2015, it entered into an agreement with Saudi Arabia to "conduct a three-year preliminary study to review the feasibility of constructing SMART reactors [System-Integrated Modular Advanced Reactors]," one of the new small modular reactors being promoted by the nuclear industry (WNN 2015). One problem for South Korea might be the evidence of widespread and systemic corruption in its nuclear industry that came to light in 2012 (Tanter 2013). ...
The leading international vendors of nuclear power reactors are competing hard to sell to the Middle East as markets dry up at home. Companies from France, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the United States, often tied to respective governments or backed by them, have been pursuing reactor deals in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, in some cases building on legacies left over from Cold War Atoms for Peace programs. Aggressive government-backed vendors and financing options to reduce the enormous up-front capital costs of modern reactors have combined with nuclear ambitions in some Middle East states to create a troubling momentum that threatens the hopes for well-being and peace in the region.
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The November 2009 exposure of employees at the Kaiga nuclear power plant to tritiated water is not the first instance of high radiation exposures to workers. Over the years, many nuclear reactors and other facilities associated with the nuclear fuel cycle operated by the Department of Atomic Energy have had accidents of varying severity. Many of these are a result of repeated inattention to good safety practices, often due to lapses by management. Therefore, the fact that catastrophic radioactive releases have not occurred is not by itself a source of comfort. To understand whether the dae's facilities are safe, it is therefore necessary to take a closer look at their operations. The description and discussion in this paper of some accidents and organisational practices offer a glimpse of the lack of priority given to nuclear safety by the dae. The evidence presented here suggests that the organisation does not yet have the capacity to safely manage India's nuclear facilities.
The author looks at diverse concepts and roles of trust in the challenge of decarbonising energy systems, drawing on 25 years of personal experience in the fields of energy and environmental policy research. The paper focuses on three issues-public trust in science, institutional trust in making technology choices, and the idea that high-trust societies are more sustainable than those exhibiting low-trust. While trust is a key concept in understanding the public acceptability of technology choices, it is only one of a suite of interrelated concepts that must be addressed, which also includes liability, consent, and fairness. Furthermore, rational distrust among competing institutional world views may be critical in understanding the role of social capital in socioeconomic and technological development. Thus the concept of trust has become a portmanteau, carrying a diverse range of ideas and conditions for sustainable energy systems. The paper concludes with three emphases for decision makers. First, the issue is the energy system, not particular generating technologies. Second, the energy system must be recognized to be as much a social system as it is a technical one. Third, the system requires incorporation of the minimum level of diversity of engineering technologies and social actors to be sustainable.
This paper argues that the rise of risk and formal risk assessment has contributed to the demise of representative democratic politics by displacing public discourses about values with technical justifications for decision making. Furthermore, risk plays a central role in the displacement of governmental responsibility to private sector and NGO actors at the same time as facilitating government control over citizens—the Janus faces1 of governance and governmentality. Arguing that the turn to public participation cannot be the panacea for the present situation, the paper concludes by calling for revitalisation of representative institutions, the development of real-time technology assessment and development of popular connoisseurship of science and technology.