Embassy of Japan in Korea
18-11, Junghak-Dong, Jongno-Gu,
Seoul, Republic of Korea
02 July 2012
To: Mr. Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan
RE: Restart of nuclear power reactors and the risk to the environment, public health, Japan’s economy, and its future prosperity
Dear Prime Minister Noda,
I wish to express my deep concern about the continued use of nuclear power in Japan, following your decision to restart two nuclear reactors at the Ohi nuclear power plant in Fukui. The almost immediate technical problems KEPCO, the plant’s operator, encountered and failed to publicise should have raised concerns for your government in proceeding with restarting these reactors. (See detailed argumentation for no restart attached) I respectfully urge you to halt the Ohi restart. All plans for restarts and life extension processes for all reactors in Japan should be stopped and a moratorium imposed on the use, expansion, and sale of nuclear technology to allow thorough solutions to be considered for safety issues and Japan’s long-term energy policy has been decided with full public participation.
Fallout from nuclear accidents does not know national borders, severely impacts the global environment, and bears incalculable risks to the health of mankind and to the global economy. There is an environmental, social, and moral obligation to work together to move Japan and the world towards a nuclear-free future powered by renewable energies.
I respect the people of Japan for their sense of community and service in times of great challenge. They desperately want change, and have the ability, the drive, and the creativity to tackle the challenge of remaking Japan without nuclear power. All they need is leadership to help them seize this monumental opportunity to empower and re-engage them in their democracy, and to get Japan and its economy on track to join the rest of the world in the renewable energy revolution. With the feed-in-tariff starting on 1st July, Japan should make every effort to go forward with renewable power and energy efficiency, rather than going backwards and risking the country again with nuclear.
Dr. Mario Damato
Greenpeace East Asia / Greenpeace Seoul Representative
5 Arguments for no-restart:
1. A detailed analysis of the causes and consequences of the catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant remains incomplete, thus it is impossible to establish the full truth about the triple meltdown or its full impact on public health and Japan’s economy. This makes restoring public, industry, and international confidence in Japan impossible, and compromises the development of proper safety and emergency measures for future disasters.
2. The prevailing, temporary safety standards that have been applied following stress tests — which you cited when declaring the Ohi reactors to be “safe” — are insufficient to ensure that no radiation would be released to the environment should a nuclear catastrophe occur at these reactors. At present, essential safety measures, such as an earthquake-resist reactor control building, emergency ventilation systems with radiation screening filters, and seawalls to protect plant equipment from tsunamis, have not been implemented at Ohi. As NSC chief Madarame himself concluded, “stress test level one is not enough to ensure safety”.
3. Discussion of safety standards must be formulated and overseen by a truly independent nuclear safety organisation. This organisation has not yet been established, and parliamentary procedures have just been started. Meanwhile, the same agencies that are responsible for the Fukushima disaster (NISA: Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency and the NSC: Nuclear Safety Committee) are again allowing the nation to be put at risk of another nuclear tragedy.
4. The sharp increase in seismic activity since the earthquake and tsunami catastrophe of March 11 further increases the risk of another nuclear accident, especially considering there may be active faults beneath the Ohi plant.
5. Fully two thirds of the Japanese public and many voices in the international community have called for an end to nuclear power in Japan, and for your government to announce an ambitious vision to move toward a renewable energy future. Rapidly deploying renewable technology is the only way to ensure Japan has a safe, clean, and secure energy future, decoupled from fossil fuels, toxic nuclear waste, and is put back on track to achieve its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.