Japanese Quake and Nuclear Alert

Feature story - March 11, 2011
Greenpeace is deeply concerned about the potential safety and environmental impacts of both the earthquake and tsunami on Japanese nuclear installations, as well as other hazardous industries such as chemical or oil refineries.

2007 earthquake damage in Japan

This earthquake in 2007 The earthquake occurred 10 km out to sea on the coast beside the Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Plant, causing damage in the town and the deaths of 10 people. The Nuclear Plant also suffered damage, resulting in leaks of nuclear materials. Greenpeace sent a specialist rapid reaction team to the Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant soon after the earthquake to make independent nuclear checks in cooperation with national community groups.

Greenpeace offers its condolences to the victims of the earthquake, and to those who have lost loved ones.

According to media reports, twenty reactors at four power generation plants have been shut down, and so far no release of radiation has been reported.

Greenpeace is concerned about tsunami damage to nuclear installations such as the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which could affect reactor cooling systems and damage highly radioactive waste storage. Even if immediately shut down, reactors require active cooling and large amounts of cooling water to avoid the risk of overheating and meltdown.

Greenpeace is continuing to monitor what is clearly a rapidly unfolding situation. We hope that future investigations into the impacts on the nuclear installations, and how they affect the population and surrounding environment will be conducted independently and reported to the public.

Experts Check for Nuclear Contamination following 2007 Quake

Greenpeace radiation expert Rianne Teule, assisted by Stan Vincent, checks for nuclear contamination with a Gamma Spectrometer on the beach beside Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, which suffered damage during 2007's earthquake. The quake occurred 10 km out to sea on the coast beside the Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Plant, causing damage in the town and the deaths of 10 people. The Nuclear Plant also suffered damage, resulting in leaks of nuclear materials. Greenpeace sent a specialist rapid reaction team to the Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant soon after the earthquake to make independent nuclear checks in cooperation with national community groups.