Tag Archives: Nuclear

Urgent: Do Not Approve Restart Of Old Sendai Nuclear Plant!

On August 4, 2015, Consumers Union of Japan participated in the meeting in the Japanese Parliament on the issue of the restart of the Sendai Nuclear Plant No. 1 reactor in Kagoshima prefecture, southern Japan.

Mr. Naoto Kan, the former Prime Minister at the time of the Fukushima Nuclear Plant accident in 2011, attended the meeting where two officials from the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) were invited by Mr. Kan to answer questions between 1:30 and 5:00 PM.

It is 31 years since the Sendai Nuclear Plant’s oldest reactor first began operating on July 4, 1984. Construction started in 1979. Japan now has rules that state that nuclear plants that have been operating for over 30 years must go through thorough checks, and the company operating nuclear reactors must submit reports when a reactor reaches that limit. That has not been done properly until now in the case of Sendai. For example, the owner is required to draw up long-term measures to ensure the safety of equipment, which NRA said can be done later… Also, in the report just submitted by Kyushu Electric, there are parts that have been blacked out for “corporate secrecy” reasons!

Even so, today on August 5, the NRA approved the restart of this old nuclear reactor.

Participants at yesterday’s meeting, including Mr. Kan, requested the NRA officials not to approve the restart of such an old and possibly unsafe nuclear plant. The procedure is not following the guidelines or laws of nuclear plant operation. However, the officials during the meeting yesterday repeatedly claimed that it would not be against any law to make a decision today, in spite of the concerns raised.

We should keep raising our strong voices against this decision-making process.

We continue to oppose the restart of the Sendai Nuclear Plant No. 1 reactor in Kagoshima.

Report by Koa Tasaka, chairperson of CUJ

 

Reform of the Power System

Consumers Union of Japan and concerned citizens and experts formed a committee in September 2013 to put forward proposals for a reform of Japan’s energy system. This network took the opportunity to make a detailed submission to the government in January 2014. This is a brief summary of the Japanese text, which is available in full on the website of Consumers Union of Japan.

We must learn from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant, and formulate a master plan which advances energy conversion. The government should listen to the opinion of citizens and reflect the public view when going forward with its plans.

A stable energy supply must be based on a new energy law which gives citizen the right to choose energy that is harmonious, sustainable and safe. Moreover, citizens should be given opportunity to participate in the policy making process. The new law should enable the promotion of affordable renewable energy, and phase out nuclear power and fossil fuels.

It is our opinion that the government should formulate a master plan that is independent of nuclear power. We have the following proposals for how the country can withdraw from nuclear power generation and the nuclear fuel cycle policy. It is particularly important to immediately stop the current nuclear fuel cycle policy.

Dependence on fossil fuel should be reduced and renewable energy should be promoted through numerical targets and a policy for increased efficiency. Energy saving measures should also be promoted further.

We want more discussion about the energy policy for example through public hearings so that the opinions of citizens can be heard. Moreover, we are of the opinion that not only the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the electricity companies should be in charge of electric power system reform, but also other agencies that better reflect the citizens, such as the Consumer Affairs Agency. A special committee representing the energy demand side should be set up that includes consumer representatives, experts on seismology and other related disciplines. It is also necessary to ensure the disclosure of each committee member’s financial relationship to the electricity producers.

As a result of the Fukushima disaster, on the national level, the new energy policy needs to be a top priority. We need to build a new electric power system that allows for the decommissioning of all nuclear power plants.

70% of the population is now demanding a nuclear power-free society. People do not believe it is safe. We are concerned that the government is not taking the Fukushima disaster seriously, blaming it on the tsunami only, and taking no note of expert reports that have pointed out structural flaws, the threat of terrorism as well as seismological issues relevant to all nuclear plants in Japan.

Stop all new construction of nuclear power plants, including reprocessing plants and fast breeder reactors. Start decommissioning all nuclear power plants around the country. We do not accept any restarts of the nuclear power plants and note that it is unacceptable that there is still no proposal for the final disposal of nuclear waste.

The government’s proposals for a reform of Japan’s energy system is vague on renewable energy, only mentioning that the introduction of renewable energy will be accelerated as much as possible within three years from now. But there are no mid- or long-term numerical targets and no details about how this will happen. This is completely insufficient as a plan for encouraging the related industry. Photovoltaic generation and storage batteries for home owners are examples of areas where numerical targets are necessary. Increased energy efficiency and power saving measures also need to be carefully considered and encouraged.

Citizens Committee for Power System Reform

Koga Masako
Mashimo Toshiki
Oda Asako
Fukasawa Yoko

Energy Reform Symposium

What Will Happen With The Electric Utility Law Revision?
June 20, 2013 Symposium

Japan is debating the future of its electric power system. A special committee at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry made recommendations for reform in February, 2013, and a bill to revise parts of the Electric Utility Law was submitted to the Parliament after a Cabinet decision in April. However, there is concern that the bill has watered down many of the proposals. It is doubtful if the bill can be enacted during the current session of the Parliament and we sense dark clouds gathering over the anticipated reform, which had just started to look promising.

After the earthquake and tsunami disaster on March 11, 2011 we face a situation where parts of the country have been so contaminated with dangerous radioactivity due to the meltdown at the nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi that it is impossible for people to live there. Society rapidly needs to be converted into relying on a wide range of power sources including wind, solar, cogeneration, etc., in addition to large-scale expansion of energy-saving efforts. This is the time for structural reform of the electric power system, and we need to move forward on creating a realistic work schedule to make this happen.

Civil society supports the Electric Utility Law revision. In this symposium, we will debate electric power reform and discuss its merits for consumers, as well as learn about the design of the electricity market. We will also hear from energy consultant Yamada Hikaru about the current situation in Europe and North America.

Organizers: e-Shift (Association for Nuclear Power Phase-out and New Energy Policies) / Consumers Union of Japan / Electric Power Reform Project

Date: June 20, 2013 (17:00-19:30)
Place: House of Representatives Multipurpose Hall, Tokyo (衆議院第二議員会館)
Subway: Nagatacho or Kokkaigijidoumae st.
Entrance: 500 Yen

(Japanese only)

About e-Shift

Continue reading Energy Reform Symposium

Peace Boat Anti-Nuclear Campaign In Europe

Katsutaka Idogawa, former Mayor of Futaba Town, the site of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, will travel to France, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, and Switzerland. He will be reaching out to municipal leaders and citizen groups about the ongoing situation in Fukushima.

Seven days after the disasters of March 11, 2011, Idogawa temporarily evacuated town residents 45 kilometers away to Kawamata City. After witnessing ashes floating down from the sky, fallout from the explosion at reactor no. 1, and measuring radiation levels on his dosimeter, he came to the conclusion that the only way for the people of Futaba to be safe would be to be as far as possible. Without waiting governmental advice, he put the safety of the people first and arranged for the town to be relocated to Saitama prefecture.

On May 12 he will meet with citizen groups at Penly Nuclear Power Plant in Le Havre, France on the English Channel where fires in April 2012 led to radioactive leakage. From May 13-15, he will participate in an international conference aboard Peace Boat on its way to Stockholm.

Participants include:

Alain Correa (STOP EPR Network, France)
Olivier Florens (Europe Ecology – The Greens)
Iida Tetsunari (Director, Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies)
Lena Lindahl (Sustainable Sweden Association)
Andrey Ozharovskiy (Nuclear expert with Bellona working to prevent the construction of a plant by Hitachi in Lithuania)
Sato Kenta (“Fukushima Conference”, from Iitate Village)
Yoshioka Tatsuya (Co-founder and Director of Peace Boat)

After meeting with experts, politicians and citizens working on nuclear issues at an event organized by ICAN Sweden, IPPNW Sweden, and the Sustainable Sweden Association on the 16th, he will travel to the location of planned nuclear power plant at Pyhäjoki, Finland to meet with the mayor and citizens on 17-18. May 19-22 he will visit Helsinki and Latvia, making his way to the Middelgrunden Wind Farm in Copenhagen for May 24-25. He will end his tour with a presentations to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

For more information, please contact:
Meri Joyce, Peace Boat International Coordinator
Email: meri@peaceboat.gr.jp

(Note: Peace Boat is a Japanese NGO/NPO that made its first journey in 1983. For details about the current trip, click here. Read more about Peace Boat in English here!)

After the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: The Roles of Consumers and Farmers

Symposium: What Can We Eat? Farmers and Consumers Reaching Out to Each Other

The Three Mile Island nuclear accident that took place in the United States on March 28, 1979 had some impact on Japan and influenced the anti-nuclear movement here, especially in areas with nuclear power plant construction sites. Media, however, continued to treat nuclear issues only as regional issues, and did not give much attention to the overall, nationwide concerns.

The April 26, 1986 disaster at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union was an even bigger shock for Japan. The radioactive clouds reached the country and caused pollution of Japanese agricultural products.

Contaminated food is a particularly serious matter for young children and pregnant women, with possible consequences for coming generations as well. The consumer movement and anti-nuclear power plant activists have pointed out similar problems resulting from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant disaster after the March 11, 2011 eartquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

However, there is another aspect to the meltdowns here in Japan. After Chernobyl, farmers and consumers in Japan did not take steps to cooperate and deal with radioactive contamination, in spite of the fact that agricultural lands and the ocean were polluted. After the Fukushima disaster, farmers and consumers have ended up divided on the issues, as the perpetrators – the government and TEPCO – have strongly continued to promote nuclear power over the years.

For over 40 years, the consumer movement demanded Japan to abolish nuclear power plants in order to avoid accidents. What is our role now? Even I could never imagine such a situation after an accident has actually occured.

Our biggest challenge is how to protect the children. We need to think clearly about how to deal with the issues that divide the producers and the consumers regarding the crops and foods that have been contaminated with radioactivity. This means we need to pursue the responsibility of the government and TEPCO, and at the same time realize a nuclear-free future for everyone.

The consumer movement is not simply a movement for buying, but also a movement to actively support producers, support Japan’s agriculture and fisheries, who can provide farm-fresh food, through partnerships that provide locally grown ingredients. We are on the verge of a crisis. The question that many are asking is how we can rise to the challenge and continue to ensure that we have safe and reliable food, while also continuing to support the farmers?

Will it be possible to create solid relationships between farmers and consumers? The purpose of this symposium is to involve many people who want to discuss the future of food and agriculture in Japan.

Amagasa Keisuke (CUJ Co-chair)

Symposium: What Can We Eat? Farmers and Consumers Reaching Out to Each Other
Time: January 19, 2013, 13:30-17:00 (Sat.)
Place: Bunkyo-ku Shimin Center 2 Floor (Room A)
Map: http://www.cadu-jp.org/notice/bunkyo_city-hall.htm

Entrance: 800 Yen
Panelists:
Ono Kazuoki (Agriculture Journalist)
Tenmyo Nobuhiro (Farmer from Niigata)
Ishige Emi (Farmer from Yamanashi)
Ito Fumika (Consumer)