Greenpeace condemns Japanese Government rush to reactivate nuclear plant

Press release - April 14, 2012
Tokyo, Japan, April 14, 2012 - Greenpeace today protested the Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano’s visit to Fukui Prefecture, slamming the Government’s push to bring two reactors at the Ohi nuclear power plant back online against public opinion and the recommendations of numerous experts, and despite essential safety and emergency upgrades not being completed.

“Independent studies show that there will be no power shortages (1), yet Prime Minister Noda and Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) are recklessly rushing to bring the reactors back online now, saying they meet its lax safety requirements,” said Wakao Hanaoka, Greenpeace Japan Campaign Manager. “The nuclear industry and the Government were totally unprepared for the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, and now they are trying to pretend they can call Ohi safe without improving safety or emergency measures. This is unbelievable.”

Nuclear Safety Commission chief Haruki Madarame and Ohi stress test committee member Masashi Goto have said that the first round of tests conducted on the plants are not enough, and that a second stage is essential to judge the safety of local citizens.

“With more strong aftershocks predicted in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, political opinion is simply not good enough to justify reactor restarts,” said Hanaoka. “Minister Edano must be the voice of reason, continue his push to phase out nuclear, and not allow the public to be tricked into believing a plant can be called safe and restarted on the basis on computer simulations.”

The Government and KEPCO claim that there will be shortages without reactor restarts, however, experts such as Hisashi Kajiyama of the Fujitsu Research Institute, who was a Special Adviser to ex-PM Naoto Kan, have shown that this position is an extreme one that assumes no renewable energy capacity is added, and no power sharing between neighbouring utilities occurs, despite sharing already covering shortfalls since March 11, 2011.

“The spectre of energy shortages is being used by Prime Minister Noda as a scare tactic to force citizens to accept risky reactor restarts against their will,” said Hanaoka. “Cutting corners on nuclear safety and rushing reactors back online in the wake of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history is utter madness. Now is the time to step carefully, focus on safety and renewable technology such as Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution (2), and not run headlong into another disaster.”

ENDS

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.

 

Contacts:

Greg McNevin, Greenpeace International Communications, , +81 80 5416 6507

Yuki Sekimoto, Greenpeace Japan Communications, , +81 80 5088 3048

Greenpeace International Press Desk Hotline, Amsterdam +31 20 7182470

Notes:

1) A report from the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) concluded that Japan could pass Winter 2011 and Summer 2012 without nuclear power and have no energy shortages. http://www.isep.or.jp/library/1660

2) Developed by the German Airspace Institute (DLR) and the Japanese Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP), Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution scenario for Japan shows that it can be back on track for its 2020 climate objectives without restarting nuclear reactors. http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/Global/japan/pdf/er_summary.pdf

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