GE has said that it did not know until late in the day that one of its own US employees had told Japanese regulators that GE’s client, Tepco, had been concealing results of GE-performed BWR core internals inspections. During the investigation of the affair four implicated GE employees were indefinitely suspended.
GE is continuing its investigation to provide information to METI as well as the basis for disciplinary action and preventative measures. According to some sources, when Japan’s regulator NISA first followed up the allegations from the GE whistleblower, they could not be confirmed because Tepco had destroyed inspection records and, apparently of its own accord, repaired the equipment cited. NISA maintained contact with the whistleblower, however, and he tipped off NISA to another case where inspection results had not been reported.
According to one source in Japan, METI did not contact GE about any allegations of concealed inspection findings until November 2001. According to GE, for months after METI said its whistleblower made his allegations, GE management was not aware of any systematic irregularities at Tepco reactors involving GE’s findings. GE said that as soon as the matter had been brought to its attention, it immediately began an intensive inquiry, and promptly contacted METI and Tepco to guarantee full co-operation.
GE has provided METI with copies of inspection documents in cases where Tepco’s copies of the records were destroyed one year after the inspections were carried out. According to some sources, GE documented 20 cases of irregularities. According to Tepco, based on information provided by GE, 29 cases of irregularities were discovered and details passed on to METI.