* Rubber seals used at 2 plants may have had falsified data
* No immediate safety concerns, utility tells regulator (Adds detail, response from Mitsubishi Materials)
TOKYO, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co said on Wednesday it has used parts in important safety equipment at two of its nuclear plants that were supplied by a unit of Mitsubishi Materials Corp with possibly falsified data.
The utility has found it is using rubber seals from Mitsubishi Cable Industries with possible falsified specifications in dozens of locations at its Takahama and Ohi nuclear plants, a spokesman said, confirming Japanese media reports.
The discovery comes after Kansai Electric delayed the restart of one of the nuclear power stations because it needs to make checks on parts supplied by Japan’s Kobe Steel Ltd , which, like Mitsubishi Materials, is embroiled in a scandal over product specifications.
The utility has told Japan’s nuclear regulator that it has not found any immediate safety issues, the spokesman said.
Kansai Electric receives rubber seals from multiple suppliers and is having difficulties identifying which ones come from Mitsubishi Materials, he said. The company does not plan to switch suppliers, the spokesman said.
Rubber seals are used in large numbers in the extensive piping found in nuclear reactors and their cooling systems and can be subject to high temperatures and pressure.
Mitubishi Materials and Mitsubishi Cable both declined to comment on Wednesday.
Mitsubishi Materials previously said it had discovered that products with falsified specifications had been sent to more than 300 of its customers.
That was the latest in a slew of scandals to rock Japan’s manufacturing industry. Apart from Kobe Steel, similar lapses on specifications have been found at Toray Industries Inc and incorrect final inspection procedures were discovered by automakers Nissan Motor Co and Subaru Corp.
Kansai Electric’s delays and checks on Ohi reactors are further hitches to the protracted reboot of Japan’s nuclear sector, shut down in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
Kansai Electric does not plan to close down the Takahama station for checks, or expect any additional delays on the restart of Ohi, the spokesman said.
Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell