Update: Call for improved evacuation and radioactivity plans

by Jess Miller

March 21, 2011

Japan nuclear disaster

It’s been 11 days since the series of explosions and radiation leaks that led to the devastating crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant. As radioactive contamination grows and conditions remain critical, we are calling for improved evacation plans and additional protection for the people still closest to the crisis.

Greenpeace calls for improved and coherent evacuation and radioactivity protection plans, as Fukushima nuclear plant crisis remains critical 

Tokyo, 20 March 2011 — As the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan entered its second week and levels of radioactive contamination continue to grow, the international environmental organization Greenpeace, along with the Japanese group Citizens Nuclear Information Centre (CNIC), is calling for improved evacuation plans and other protective measures for people still within the 30km exclusion zone, as well as for pregnant women and children in contaminated areas beyond 3Okm. (1)

“As the Fukushima crisis continues, it is clear that the Japanese authorities are unable to fully protect public health. Despite early assurances that there would be little risk to the public we have now seen extensive evacuation and increasing radioactive contamination in the food chain. Japanese authorities seem to be one step behind the situation, which has to change in the name of public protection. It is now time for full and prompt disclosure so people can be properly protected and adequate emergency plans put into place,” said Jan Beranek, head of the Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaign. (2) 

We also urgently need answers to the following questions:

The government has reported monitoring information on the external radioactive dose rates measured at different locations. However, people are also exposed to risks of internal radiation exposure by inhalation and ingestion of radioactive particles. What information does the government have on the total radiation dose for the population? Further, what air contamination monitoring data does the government have? 

What exactly is the status of reactor 3 and the spent fuel pond at unit 4 where JAIF reported a hydrogen explosion in its updates from March 18, both 1600 and 2200 JST?

How much radioactivity has already been released into the sea? Is the government monitoring contamination of the fish and other sea life? 

“This unfolding disaster has once more revealed the impossibility of keeping people safe in the event of a nuclear disaster”, continued Beranek. Not only have the Japanese authorities been found wanting, but the international response has been far from coherent or adequate, with different national nuclear regulators offering contradictory advice. The world’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stayed embarrassingly silent for days and is now impotent in the wake of this unfolding tragedy.”

“We are already seeing some in the nuclear industry dismiss this disaster as anomaly, as they did Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, arguing that we need nuclear power to combat climate change. This is a dangerous delusion; it should now be clear to all concerned that this technology is too dangerous to be part of any future energy plans. The ever-present threat of nuclear disaster and the emerging reality of climate change should be all the encouragement the world needs to exploit the full potential of safe renewable energy systems,” concluded Beranek.

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