5 Avril 2013
April 5, 2013
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has launched an internal investigation to determine whether it had staff members make comments in favor of promoting nuclear power at a public meeting held in Fukushima in 2005 before the government formulated a basic outline for the nation's long-term nuclear policy.
It has emerged that the company, operator of the crisis-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, sent at least 35 workers, including its own staff members, to a public hearing that the Cabinet Office's Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) held that year in preparation for the establishment of its Framework for Nuclear Energy Policy.
TEPCO and commission officials said that at least 35 of the 135 participants at the hearing were employees of TEPCO or its affiliates. Six of the 23 people who gave opinions when asked about the pros and cons of nuclear power were associated with the utility.
"We are investigating the content of their statements, and whether those present were asked to make statements in favor of promoting nuclear power," a representative of TEPCO's Fukushima public relations division said, admitting that workers were sent to the hearing.
Public hearings were held in five locations across Japan in August 2005, with between 135 and 271 people present at each meeting. It has already emerged that 150 of the 179 participants at the hearing in Saga, or about 80 percent of those present, were dispatched by Kyushu Electric Power Co. Of these, seven spoke in favor of nuclear power. At the end of March, the AEC asked power companies to investigate whether there were any similar cases.
It was earlier learned that TEPCO asked its employees and members of subcontractors to attend a town meeting on the safety of nuclear power plants that the government held in Fukushima Prefecture in 2003, explaining to them in advance how to fill in questionnaires that were distributed at the meeting.