Japan: Utility falsified data at nuclear plants

Japan's largest utility operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., has admitted that it falsified data at its nuclear power plants for three decades in an attempt to easily pass compulsory government inspections. TEPCO said it discovered falsifications of technical data on nearly 200 occasions from 1977 to 2002 at three nuclear power plants, and reported them to the Trade and Industry Ministry as requested. The company also found three cases of improper modifications at two thermal plants, it said. However, the modifications did not affect plant safety, the company said in a statement Wednesday on its Web site. The falsifications have passed the three-year statute of limitations and the company is likely to escape punishment, Kyodo News agency reported.