Fukushima Accident Proves that Nuclear is Dangerous: Greenpeace

Press release - February 27, 2012
Johannesburg, 27 February 2012 – Greenpeace today urges the South African government to learn from the lessons of Fukushinma and to stop the use of nuclear in South Africa’s energy mix. Almost a year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster thousands of Japanese are still reeling from the devastation and displacement as a result. This remains sad reminder that nuclear power is dangerous and will only lead South Africa to a deadly energy future.

As part of activities to remember the March 11th 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Greenpeace Africa will be hosting a survivor of the nuclear tragedy from the 27th of February to the 2nd of March 2012. Evacuee Ms Ayako Oga is a long-time resident and farmer from the village of Okuma Machi, around 7.5 kilometres from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.  Ms Oga was forced to leave her home and abandon her dream to live and farm in the countryside as she knows she may never return home.

“Our thoughts remain with those that lost their loved ones and were misplaced because of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the nuclear disaster. This accident is a reminder that nuclear energy is expensive and never safe” said Ferrial Adam of Greenpeace Africa

In a new report ‘Lessons from Fukushima’ [1] South Africa is reminded of the devastation of nuclear. According to the Report, over 150,000 people have been evacuated, lost nearly everything and are denied sufficient support and compensation to allow them to rebuild their lives. Families have been split apart, lost their homes and their communities. The nuclear disaster could cost the Japanese government between US$500 billion to US$600 billion.

According to Adam, nuclear reactors are a dirty and dangerous power source, one that will always be vulnerable to the deadly combination of human errors, design failures, and natural disasters.

“The South African government should learn from Fukushima and abandon its path of investing in the destructive and costly technology of nuclear energy”, she continued.

Greenpeace is calling on the South African government to put a stop to the nuclear build.

 “Now is the time to invest in sustainable clean and long term solutions like renewable energy. Greenpeace Africa has shown through its  Advanced Energy [R]evolution (2) that 148000 jobs can be created through the renewable energy sector. With political will it can be done”, concluded Adam.

Contacts:

  • Ferrial Adam, Climate & Energy Campaigner: +27 (0) 79 512 9373
  • Mbong Akiy, Communications Manager: +27 (0) 71 688 1274

For interviews with Ms Oga please contact Mbong for more details.

Notes to Editors

[1] The “Lessons From Fukushima” report will be released on 28 February 2012; and will be available online on www.greenpeaceafrica.org

[2]  The Advanced Energy [R]evolution report is available on http://www.energyblueprint.info/fileadmin/media/documents/national/2011/E_R__South_Africa_May_2011-LR.pdf

(3)11 March 2012 marks one year since Japan was hit by an earthquake, subsequent tsunami and a nuclear disaster. Thousands of lives were lost and hundreds of thousands are still facing the impacts of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. The accident resulted in high release of radiation which could be measured as far as 200km from the site.

[4] ‘Shadowlands’ is a multi-media presentation of haunting photographs of the impact of the Fukushima disaster area to highlight the human cost of a nuclear accident. The photo exhibition warns other nuclear aspiring states like South Africa of the potential human threats of nuclear energy and will take place at the constitution hill throughout the month of March. http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/shadowlands/