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Japan: Tepco has wasted Fukushima cash

JAPANESE government auditors said yesterday that Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has wasted more than a third of the 190 billion yen (£1.07bn) of taxpayer money allocated for cleaning up the destroyed plant.

They also said the clean-up work has been dominated by a small group of utility, construction and electronics giants despite repeated calls for competitive bids.

Tepco spokesman Teruaki Kobayashi insisted all the equipment used had contributed to stabilising the plant.

However, the auditors drew attention to expensive failures including a 32 bn yen (£180 million) machine made by

French firm Areva to remove radioactive cesium from water leaking from the wrecked reactors.

The machine lasted just three months and treated only a tiny fraction of the volume leaking every day.

They also pointed to cooling machines costing 18.4bn yen (£100.7m) from companies including Hitachi, Toshiba and Areva.

One functioned for five days and the longest lasted just six weeks.

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