2016/09/05 Greenpeace condemns Kyushu Electric’s refusal to halt Sendai reactors in open letter

プレスリリース - 2016-09-05
5 September 2016, Tokyo - Today, Greenpeace Japan sent an open letter to Kyushu Electric CEO Michiaki Uriu condemning the utility’s rejection of the Kagoshima Governor’s request for a temporary halt of the Sendai 1&2 reactors, pending seismic safety checks. Citing Kyushu Electric’s track record of recklessness, and its dismissal of both expert advice and its own commitments to the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, the organization called the utility a rogue entity and demanded that the company heed the concerns of impacted citizens.

“This decision was the result of Kyushu Electric’s calculating their financial benefit versus people’s lives. They then put human lives second. This is wholly unacceptable,” said Yuko Yoneda, Executive Director of Greenpeace Japan, in the letter.

Kyushu Electric’s rejection of Governor Mitazono’s request to stop the operation of the Sendai reactors sets a dangerous precedent. Japan’s nuclear utilities have been putting the public interest second to their profits for decades, aided by a captured regulator. This directly resulted in TEPCO’s ongoing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe. Unfortunately, it would appear that not much has changed in the five and a half years since.

“Even within the context of the nuclear utilities’ standard negligence, Kyushu Electric is a rogue corporation. Other utilities have at least displayed basic civility by not operating reactors if the governor opposed them. This is the first time a utility has so brazenly displayed its disdain for the people, and their elected leaders, by dismissing a formal request from the host governor out of hand. Kyushu Electric’s behaviour is an embarrassment to social decency and an affront to citizens everywhere,” said Kendra Ulrich, Senior Global Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Japan.  

In January 2016, Kyushu Electric told the NRA that it had decided not to construct a seismic isolation building for emergency offsite control of the reactors, although it had committed to do so as a part of its restart application for the Sendai reactors. The nuclear plant also sits near the Aira super caldera and the Sakurajima volcano, among others, which pose significant risks to reactor safety due to potentially enormous volumes of volcanic ash fallout. Despite warnings from volcanologists, Kyushu Electric insists that it can predict when a major eruption will occur.

The reactors have numerous other outstanding safety issues, in addition to volcanic and seismic risks, and a woefully inadequate evacuation plan. 

Note to editors:
Open letter to Kyushu Electric CEO Michiaki Uriu (Japanese), http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/Global/japan/pdf/20160905_Letter_to_Kyushu_Electric.pdf
Greenpeace commissioned report, “Implications of Tephra (Volcanic Ash) Fall-out on the Operational Safety of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant”,  February 26th 2015


Media contacts:
Kendra Ulrich, Senior Global Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Japan, , phone: +81 90 6478 5408
Chisato Jono, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Japan, , phone +81 80 6558 4446
Greenpeace International Press Desk, , phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)