Reuters Investigates

Insight and investigations from our expert reporters

Is a 10 percent chance of disaster too high for a nuclear power station?

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JAPAN-QUAKE/Kevin Krolicki has another alarming special report from Japan today challenging the assertion that the disaster facing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was beyond expections.

The report quotes Tokyo Electric’s own researchers who did a study in 2007 on the risk of tsunamis: 

The research paper concluded that there was a roughly 10 percent chance that a tsunami could test or overrun the defenses of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant within a 50-year span based on the most conservative assumptions.

But Tokyo Electric did nothing to change its safety planning based on that study, which was presented at a nuclear engineering conference in Miami in July 2007.

Will Brazil be ready for kick off?

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SOCCER-LATAM/Everybody knows Brazil is booming these days. But they don’t always see the dark side of that progress: some of the world’s worst traffic jams, blackouts, and trucks that sit in lines for several days at harvest time because seaports are so full.

Hoping to fix those problems, Brazil plans more than $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements in the next decade, and the scope is pretty amazing. The government wants a bullet train between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo; a huge new hydroelectric dam in the Amazon; and a railroad criss-crossing Brazil’s northeast, a region that is a bit like the American Deep South in that it has historically lagged behind the rest of the country in investment.

Fiat move to the United States? Sacrilege

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Today’s special report, “Can an Italian Elvis make Fiat- Chrysler dance?” is stirring up a storm in Italy, where the suggestion that one of the country’s most hallowed institutions might up sticks and move to America is a big deal.

Here’s the critical part of the report:

This year, Marchionne had to rush to meet Berlusconi and Italian cabinet members to reassure them Fiat would “keep its heart” in Italy. In February he’d stirred up a ruckus among Italian politicians by flagging the possibility that Fiat might escape Italy’s died-in-the-wool unions and move the merged company’s headquarters to the United States within two years.

All Japan, all the time

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Two more special reports from Japan today: first up, a look at how globalization has made companies around the world vulnerable to a shock like the earthquake. ”Disasters show flaws in just-in-time production.”

The PDF version, here, has a nice graphic showing the location of Japan’s ports, some of which have been hard hit by the disaster.

Hedge fund investors flex their muscles

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By Emily Chasan

Bernie Madoff, didn’t technically run a hedge fund, but his effects on the industry are still being felt today. 

Hedge fund investors learned the hard way that they wanted to invest in hedge funds with a more institutional feel, and pushed successfully over the past few years for reforms to hedge fund redemption policies, transparency, use of outside fund administrators and even lower fee structures.

Battling meltdowns, nuclear and fiscal, in Japan

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JAPAN-QUAKE/Check out two special reports out of Tokyo today.

The first examines what has happened at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant since Friday’s massive quake: “Mistakes, misfortune, meltdown: Japan’s quake” (PDF version here)

 Here’s how one expert sums up the situation:

“They might have been prepared for an earthquake. They might have been prepared for a tsunami. They might have been prepared for a nuclear emergency, but it was unlikely that they were prepared for all three,” said Ellen Vancko, an electric power expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Stalemates have consequences

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By Andy Sullivan

Could you imagine General Electric operating for six months without knowing how much money it has to spend? That’s the situation the U.S. government finds itself in as Congress still hasn’t settled on a budget for the fiscal year that started last October.

While Republicans and Democrats argue over $50 billion in proposed cuts, the effects of the stalemate are being felt around the globe. Airport control towers go unstaffed, scientific research goes unfunded and fighter jets are grounded.  

The battle of Waterloo

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RIM/By Alastair Sharp

University of Waterloo students looking for a bit of extra cash and some experience in the world of technology often end up spending a semester in the bowels of Research In Motion’s sprawling campus next door.

Waterloo, a university town an hour’s drive from Toronto where RIM built its empire at the entrance to its mine, is a technology hub and its main university is often referred to as either the MIT or Stanford of the north by proud Canadians, with good reason.

Dan Loeb learns email is forever

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RTR2D72S.jpgBy Matthew Goldstein

The trouble with email is that even once you hit the delete button a message often is never really gone.

Long forgotten emails often lie buried in the deep recesses of a computer’s hard drive. That is until some  enterprising lawyer with a subpoena comes around and gets a techie to retrieve it. And all too often, those old emails can come back to haunt a person — especially in litigation.

The Macau Connection

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We teamed up with Matt Isaacs and the Investigative Reporting Program at U.C. Berkeley for a special report last week on the murky world of Macau casinos.

The Macau Connection” focused on Las Vegas Sands, which is being sued by the former CEO of its China division.