Nuclear power, pharmaceutics, electronics, sporting goods – news in brief

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Counterfeit components found in nuclear power plants // Pharmaceutical counterfeiting ring broken up // Canon blocks gateway for Chinese counterfeits // Hundreds of thousands of fake sporting goods seized

In several nuclear power plants in the US, counterfeit, fraudulent, and suspect items (CFSI) have been discovered, according to the report of a special investigation by the US government. This concerns components such as emergency service water pump shafts, instruments for detecting steam line breaks, and breaker switches designed to prevent fires. Reportedly, at least two cases of component failures could be related to such CFSIs. While the number of counterfeit components is said to be small, the report warns that their prevalence might be underestimated by officials of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the US agency responsible for nuclear power plant safety. According to the report, such illegal components could pose a safety risk, with potentially serious consequences on nuclear power plant safety precautions. Regulatory gaps, such as a lack of reporting of identified counterfeits, have also been criticized.

Polish authorities seized hundreds of thousands of fake medicines, as well as components for producing further fakes, with a total value of about 40 million zloty (approx. 8.5 million euros), supported by the European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF. After a months-long investigation, 34 suspects were arrested during several operations in the Poznań and Łódź area; and drugs, counterfeit alcohol, and cash were seized too. The criminal organization has allegedly been operating in western Poland since the beginning of 2018 at least. The gang had been importing Asian counterfeit pharmaceuticals and then selling them over the Internet – including across borders. According to authorities, this includes medicines from leading global pharmaceutical companies. The investigations are ongoing.

By reaching an agreement with a Chinese logistics company, the Japanese electronics corporation Canon has blocked a key transportation route for certain counterfeit electronic goods into the United States. The settlement is a response to a counterfeiting tactic of shipping fake goods in bulk to fulfilment centers in North America using special logistics service providers, which makes their activities harder to trace. The affected products include counterfeit lithium-ion batteries and chargers, especially for compact, SLR, and video cameras. These were mainly sold via online retailers, reports the trade magazine Securing Industry. A Canon spokesperson describes the settlement as a new approach to curb illegal imports, and says they hope that many companies will take similar action.

Authorities in the US doubled the value of seized counterfeit goods in the run-up to the Super Bowl. Before this year’s finale of the US National Football League (NFL), more than 267,500 counterfeits worth around 97.8 million US dollars (around 87.7 million euros) were seized – in 2021, the value was at approx. 45 million US dollars (about 40.4 million euros), media reports. Seized goods include counterfeits of fan and sports articles such as jerseys, jackets, souvenirs, but also fake tickets. The counterfeits had often been advertised as legitimate products, for example at flea markets, street sales, in stores, and online, the authorities said.

Sources: Office of the Inspector General, World Nuclear Association; OLAF, CBŚP; Securing Industry; LA Times

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