Reaction to the fire at the Japanese nuclear power plant Kashiwazaki-Kariwa

Press release - 16 July, 2007
"This fire and radioactive leakage reminds us yet again of the serious threats posed by nuclear power. There is a real risk in Japan, and globally, of larger earthquakes and other natural disasters, as well as of terrorist attacks that could lead to far more serious nuclear accidents," said Jan Beranek, Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaigner.
"Initially the Japanese nuclear industrylied about the true impacts of the fire, saying there was no danger ofradioactive leakage," Beranek continued.

The Japanese and global nuclear industry has been marred by a series ofaccidents and cover-ups(1). There are parallels with a similar incident at theGerman nuclear power plant Krummel, in June of this year, where the industryfirst claimed that the fire had no impact on reactor safety. In reality, thefire led to serious malfunctions, which according to the German nuclearregulators, directly threatened the safety of the reactor.

Beranek concluded, "Nuclear power undermines the real solutions to climatechange, by diverting resources away from the massive development of cleanrenewable energy sources the world urgently needs. What's more, climate changewill increase natural disasters in turn posing a greater risk to nuclear powerplants, and to our safety."

Note 1: The Japanese nuclear industry have been exposed in a number of seriousincidents and cover-ups in recent years, including:

March 2007 - It was discovered that the Hokuriku utility did not informthe public or nuclear inspectors about a serious incident at Shika nuclearpower plant. On July 18th, 1999, failure of control rods lead to an uncontrolledchain reaction.

April 2006 - A radioactive spill of 40 litres of liquid containing plutonium occurredin a brand new reprocessing plant in Rokkasho-Mura.

August 2004 - A pipe rupture in Mihama nuclear power plant killed five workers.TEPCO utility - the same one operation Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant - was forced toshut down its 17 reactors when it was discovered that if faked documents aboutsafety inspections.

September 1999 - Workers at a fuel factory in Tokaimura failed to follow guidelines,leading to an uncontrolled chain reaction that lasted for three days. Threeworkers died due to high irradiation and local people had to be evacuated fromthe neighbourhood.

Other contacts: Jan Beranek, Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaigner, +31 651 109 558

Exp. contact date: 2007-07-26 00:00:00