July 01, 2012
Friends of the Earth Japan
Citizens Against the Fukushima Aging Nuclear Power Plants
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“We can manage without relying on nuclear power”
As of this evening, the Ohi nuclear power plant reactor No.3 of Kansai Electric Power was reactivated for the first time since Japan’s 50 reactors were shut down after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Hundreds of citizens on site expressed their opposition to the reactivation by occupying the road leading to the power plant. Tens of thousands across the nation further joined the protest through massive demonstrations in Tokyo, Yokohama and Kansai. Nevertheless, in complete disregard of citizens, experts and Diet members who raised voices of caution and called for the re-examination of safety conditions, the Japanese government proceeded to allow the reactor to restart.
We hereby strongly object to the outrageous act of the Japanese government to ignore the voices of its own people, and to refuse to account for the safety of the power plant. As of now, the Ohi plant is by no means free of safety issues.
The most pressing concern is the seismic threat posed by the F-6 fault line that runs directly below the Ohi plant. If this fault line in fact active, even a small earthquake could cause shifts in the ground that would have drastic consequences for the facility. What's more, this fault line crosses one of the facility’s crucial emergency water cooling lines. This alone is enough to justify the immediate discontinuation of the plant’s operation. It is no longer a question of interpreting guidelines or conducting stress tests. In addition, Kansai Electric has underestimated the risk posed by the possible simultaneous movement of three active locations of the F-6 fault (as identified by experts), and the likelihood that the insertion time of the control rods exceeded acceptable standards has not been properly investigated. We cannot help but resent this outright devaluation of safety concerns.
This reactivation has gained neither the understanding nor support of citizens of the Ohi community; rather, many citizens conveyed deep reservations at the single informational meeting that was held in Ohi town. Such informational meetings have not even been held anywhere else in Fukui prefecture or in neighboring prefectures, and yet authorities claim that the reactivation plan has “gained the support of the local people.”
We demand that the Japanese government genuinely considers the voices of the people, conducts research on seismic threat and the insertion time of the control rods, and presents relevant results to the public. This hazardous reactivation must be halted, and tighter safety standards must be implemented on the basis of thorough investigations of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
We would like to express great respect and support for all those who raised their voices in protest of this day. The efforts of such citizens led to two months of no nuclear power generation, which proved that Japanese society can indeed manage without nuclear power.
We are no longer under the illusion that nuclear power is indispensable.
Moving forward, we would like to continue to reconsider our overconsumption of energy and take steady steps toward a sustainable society that is free of reliance on nuclear energy.