The Institute for Energy Technology has since July 2019 had a team of investigators to investigate suspicion of irregularities and scientific dishonesty during earlier scientific projects at the Halden reactor facility. The research projects have been carried out for clients within the nuclear sector in other countries. The investigation report was finalised on April 20th and on the background of the findings in the report IFE has reported it to the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim).
DSA has, since 2019 when they were informed about possible dishonesty in the scientific work at the facility, had it especially supervised. DSA has been continuously informed about how the investigation has been conducted and what has been found. By imposition from DSA IFE has i.a. investigated the possibility that the scientific work has had consequences for the safety at Norwegian nuclear facilities and how the manipulated scientific results might have been used in the nuclear sector in other countries. It cannot be excluded that economic or environmental crimes have been committed and DSA sees this in connection with the failing safety culture that has been uncovered at the institute.
The investigation has uncovered serious irregularities in some projects with a risk of financial consequences and consequences for safety. DSA, the Norwegian Radiation and Safety Authority will thoroughly asses the findings and consider further follow-op of the misconduct. According to IFE the manipulation of the experiments appears to have been meticulously planned and well hidden.
DSA has, based on what has so far turned up in the investigation, informed the nuclear safety authorities in the countries in question where the results from the scientific projects might have been used. According to the investigation report the multinational OECD Halden project has not been affected by the irregularities. Based on the findings from the investigation IFE has not found any consequences for the safety of the Halden reactor.
-We regard the possibility of irregularities and scientific dishonesty very seriously and will look thoroughly at the investigation report. We will do our own assessment of the conclusions that have been drawn so far to ensure ourselves that the safety of the Halden reactor has not been jeopardized. It is important to clarify for how long the irregularities have been going on and the extent of them. We will therefore, in a dialogue with our sister authorities in other countries, further investigate the use of the manipulated scientific results and their possible consequences, says director Ole Harbitz.