October 27, 2017 / 8:41 AM / in a year

Kobe Steel sent products with tampered data to second nuclear company

TOKYO, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Kobe Steel Ltd supplied parts with false specifications for nuclear equipment owned by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd (JNFL), JNFL said on Friday, adding that the products were not used.

The parts were destined for use in centrifuges to enrich uranium, a JNFL spokesman said by phone. Citing security reasons, he declined to provide further details.

Kobe Steel has not told JNFL whether there are any safety issues with the parts, the spokesman said. A Kobe Steel spokesman confirmed the company had fabricated data about specialised coatings used on the parts, adding the company had not identified any safety issues.

JNFL is the second company in the nuclear power industry to receive components affected by the steelmaker’s data tampering. Tokyo Electric Power Co said earlier this month it had taken delivery of pipes from Kobe Steel that were not checked properly.

Japan’s atomic regulator has asked nuclear operators to check whether they are using Kobe Steel products at nuclear plants, it said on Wednesday, adding it has received no reports that Kobe Steel’s data tampering scandal has affected safety.

No deadline has been given for nuclear operators to report back to the Nuclear Regulation Authority, a spokesman said by phone on Friday.

The unfolding data tampering scandal has spread from Kobe Steel’s copper and aluminium business to most areas of the company and sent companies at the end of complex supply chains across the world scrambling to check whether the safety or performance of their products has been compromised.

While no safety issues have been identified, Japan’s third-largest steelmaker is likely to face claims for replacement parts and other costs.

Kobe Steel said on Thursday 88 out of 525 affected customers had yet to confirm its products were safe in the light of widespread tampering of specifications, but that it had not received any requests for recalls.

Japan’s third-largest steelmaker supplies manufacturers of cars, planes, trains and other products across the world and the data tampering has spiralled into one of Japan’s biggest industrial scandals. (Reporting by Sam Nussey and Osamu Tsukimori; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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