The following is a presentation made by Dr. David Lowry at the Remember Fukushima Parliamentary meeting in London on 17 March 2016.
The following is a presentation made by Professor Timothy Mousseau at the Remember Fukushima Parliamentary meeting in London on 17 March 2016.
Powerpoint: TMousseau-reChernobyl-UK-March 2016
Read out at the Remember Fukushima Vigil outside the Japanese Embassy London on 11 March 2016
Mr Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan
Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom
The decision last week to indict executives of Japan’s largest energy utility, Tokyo Electric Power Company, for their failure to prevent the meltdown of three reactors at Fukushima Daiichi is a major step forward for the people of Japan. The fact that this criminal prosecution is taking place at all is a vindication for the thousands of civilians and their dedicated lawyers who are challenging the nation’s largest power company and the establishment system. It is a devastating blow to the obsessively pro-nuclear Abe government, which is truly fearful of the effect the trial will have on nuclear policy and public opinion over the coming years.
Today we stand here in solidarity with the people of Fukushima and Japan to demand a nuclear-free society. Fukushima disasters are not over. The tragedy is still continuing. A similar accident could happen any time anywhere in the world. It is hard to understand how Japan can justify restarting its nuclear reactors and exporting nuclear technology after the Fukushima disaster. Suddenly during 6–8 April 2015, the monitoring posts in Minamisoma detected very high radioactivity.
We now know that a civil nuclear disaster results in devastation similar to a nuclear war. We have the right to live in a world free from this nuclear brutality. Governments have an obligation to protect their citizens and future generations. Children played no part in the policy which led to the disaster at Fukushima. Yet, it is the young and unborn who are the most vulnerable to radiation. They are the future. Nothing is more important than protecting them.
Nuclear power, even without accidents, inevitably creates permanent and deadly contamination. It damages or destroys people’s health, the eco-system and the environment. From uranium mining to nuclear waste, nuclear energy is incompatible with life. Radiation has assaulted people in Japan, UK and other parts of the world repeatedly. The genetic disease will be transmitted into the future generations.
We say, “Enough is enough!” The latest polling shows 59% of Japanese people oppose restarting nuclear reactors, including Sendai. The NRA decision ignores the majority opinion.
The people of Japan, still suffering the ongoing tragedy of Fukushima, understand that the NRA is not protecting the public but only the interests of an industry in crisis. Sendai reactors are now set to restart in July. But, there are more and more sings of volcanic activities in Kyushu which will force Sendai Nuclear Power Plant to be shut again soon.
Sendai, Ikata and Takahama may make headlines in Japan and elsewhere today as a step toward restarts, but it does not change that for an entire year and 10 months, as of 11 August 2015 Japan has been nuclear free.
This is in large part due to the commitment of the people of Japan who have taken to the streets to protest nuclear restarts, have fought and won in courts, have massively reduced energy demand, and rapidly expanded clean, renewable solar panels.
This is impressive leadership from the people which has advanced Japan’s future despite the determination of the Abe Government and dirty energy industries to drag Japan backward into the energy dark ages.
The people have proven their commitment to a clean energy future, and they’ve shown the world that it is possible. It is happening now.
For the sake of our children and future generations, this planet must be protected from deadly nuclear contamination. We, as world citizens, demand the Japanese government implements the following:-
- Evacuate children and young people from contaminated areas.
- Reinstate the pre-Fukushima radiation safety standards.
- Provide uncontaminated water and food to all children and young people.
- Give free and prompt medical checks and treatments for all those exposed to Fukushima radiation.
- Monitor contamination accurately and publicise the data immediately.
- Stop futile and costly decontamination projects.
- End the state myth that radiation below the so-called “safety” limit is safe.
- Stop suppressing radiation-related health data and statistics.
- Abolish nuclear energy and switch to renewables.
- Abandon nuclear fuel recycling.
- Stop exporting nuclear power and technology.
- Disclose up-to-date information on the state of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
- Take responsibility for decommissioning Fukushima reactors.
- Prosecute those responsible for the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.
- Protect the civil rights of anti-nuclear and anti-radiation citizens.
- Respect freedom of expression and speech.
- Comply with Japan’s ‘No-Nuclear weapon principles’.
- Uphold the Peace Constitution. The article 9 should be kept as it is without expanding interpretation for more military action overseas.
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukushima – Japan should share the lessons of these tragedies with the international community, and lead the world towards a nuclear-free future. Remember Fukushima – No to nuclear power! No to restart of Sendai, Ikata and Takahama.
Saikado Hantai. Saikado Hantai, Saikado Hantai, 再稼働反対！再稼働反対！再稼働反対! No to restart of Nuclear Reactors!!
Shigeo Kobayashi on behalf of Japanese Against Nuclear UK
Reverend Gyoro Nagase on behalf of Nipponzan Myohoji
Rik Grafit-Mottram on behalf of Kick Nuclear
Professor Dave Webb, Chairman, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Dr Kate Hudson, General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Every Friday [work day] members of Kick Nuclear and JAN UK hold a vigil outside the Japanese Embassy on Piccadilly in London to remember Fukushima and to protest against nuclear power.
The vigil begins at 10:00am GMT to coincide with the vigils held in Tokyo at 6:00pm JST, outside the Prime Minister’s residence and outside the Diet (Parliamentary) building. These two vigils are attended by hundreds of people. Dozens more such vigils are held across Japan, in the USA and in other parts of the world.
an extract from TORCH-2016 by Dr. Ian Fairlie, commissioned by Global 2000 and Friends of the Earth Austria, published 7th March 2016.
- providing stable iodine to all citizens within at least 50 km of all nuclear reactors
- pre-stocking emergency levels of clean water supplies, long-life milk and dried food supplies
- distributing information leaflets to the public explaining what to do in the event of an emergency and explaining why precautionary measures are necessary
- detailed planning of possible evacuations
- constructing and staffing permanent emergency evacuation centres
- carrying out emergency evacuation drills
- planning subsequent support of evacuated populations
- planning how to help those who choose to remain in contaminated areas
- increasing the mental health training of primary physicians and nurses
- moving the site of care to primary care settings, and
- informing citizens that these measures have been taken
It may be argued that these measures are unnecessary and/or too expensive. However TORCH 2016 shows that they are indeed necessary. Governments which choose to promote potentially dangerous energy policies should also fund the necessary precautions in case of accidents.
Statement by Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Board Chairman of Green Cross International
Delivered by Professor Dr Alexander Likhotal, President of Green Cross International, at the Remember Fukushima Public Parliamentary meeting at Portcullis House, London, 17 March 2016
Honourable members of the House, dear participants,
We live in urgent times. The sum of the concurrent crises that have been engulfing everything from climate to security, to politics and economy is creating a spiral of need for change. Therefore I welcome your effort to review the linkages between nuclear energy and world development and to examine broad lines of action to improve human wellbeing and security in the new conditions of the 21st Century. Unfortunately my health prevents me from joining you, which I regret, as the situation in the world makes this meeting extremely timely and important.
Nearly seventy years ago, a group of Manhattan Project scientists, having seen the power of nuclear destruction, created what they called the Doomsday Clock. It was a mechanism designed to warn the world about the threat of imminent global catastrophe. This year, the Doomsday Clock is 3 minutes to midnight, having ticked back down to its setting when the Cold War was at peak ice. Why? The global number of warheads has resumed climbing; up to 30 countries either have nukes or can get them quickly; North Korea is blowing smoke; ISIS stealing one is not beyond belief. Unquantifiable human delusion and game playing underlie our most serious threats.
In addition the Doomsday Clock began factoring in risks peripheral to nuclear detonations: the risks and impacts of a future Chernobyl or Fukushima; accidents within nuclear storage sites; processing and transporting nuclear materials; climate change affecting living organisms in addition to radioactive pollution.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe and the fifth of the Fukushima nuclear disaster: the worst disasters humankind has had to deal with. Both were the result of the inability of scientists and engineers to foresee how seemingly small problems can snowball into disasters of almost unimaginable scale. For me, personally, Chernobyl remains one of the most tragic incidents of our time. From the moment I was informed – by telephone, at five o’clock in the morning on that fateful 26 April 1986 – that fire had broken out in Block Four of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, my life has never been the same. Although the full magnitude of the disaster was not known at that time, it was immediately obvious that something horrific was happening.
The questions raised by Chernobyl and reiterated by Fukushima are more relevant today than ever before, and they are still unanswered. How can we be sure that nations using nuclear power for civil or military purposes will comply with the necessary protective measures and regulations? How can we reduce risk to the welfare of future generations? Are we hiding from the answers to these questions when we shut down debate by invoking “national security” or energy needs?
Contrary to the statements of nuclear energy advocates that there were only two major accidents, if one redefines an accident to include incidents that either resulted in the loss of human life or significant loss in property damage, a very different picture emerges.
At least 99 nuclear accidents meeting this definition, totaling more than $20.5 billion in damages, occurred worldwide from 1952 to 2009 – or more than one incident and $330 million in damage every year.
This recurrence rate, demonstrating that there are many risks that are not being properly managed or regulate, is worrying, to say the least, given the severity of harm that even a single serious accident can cause. The meltdown of a 500- megawatt reactor located 50 kilometers from a city would cause the immediate death of an estimated 45,000 people, injure roughly another 70,000, and cause $17 billion in property damage.
And moreover according to recent findings of Swiss and Danish experts the chances are 50:50 that a major nuclear disaster will occur somewhere in the world before 2050.
It is vital that any discussions about nuclear energy address the issue comprehensively and in all its complexity. Nuclear power systems are not just a security issue, an environmental issue, or an energy issue. They are all of those at once. And as Green Cross International has been arguing for years, these aspects of the issue must be addressed together.
Consider the question of cost. The information we can get from financial markets is not above suspicion, but it cannot be neglected either. In principle, private capital does not take the direction of non-profit activities. Therefore it does not take the direction of atomic energy but of renewable. According to a recent report in 2011 the United States, for example, invested over US$48 billion in renewable energy, up from US$34 billion in 2010, regaining first place in the global clean energy investment rankings.
This means that the money needed to build nuclear plants cannot be found in private capital. It is found in State tax coffers and bonds. Taxpayers or unconcerned buyers of such securities finance nuclear energy usually without any knowledge of this.
And we should not forget that when the alleged “cost-savings” of nuclear power are voiced, never does that cost include the price tag for direct and indirect governmental subsidies, the decommissioning of ageing facilities and – in light of the noted disasters –emergency clean-up, along with the remediation of the impacted communities, all again at the expense of the taxpayers . At Fukushima, the bill will include costs of the heroic efforts by hundreds of workers to cool down its reactors, the protracted loss of economic output in the 20km exclusion zone (estimated at $128.5bn), the decommissioning and clear- up costs, and the costs of replacing 4.7GW of generating capacity. On top of that, there is the possibility of healthcare costs resulting from radioactivity.
All these hidden costs make the price of nuclear energy higher than the cost of shifting to renewable energies while raising energy efficiency. It is not incidental that private capital has started opting for renewables. Thus 2015 was characterised by stunning progress in clean power delivery. In the U.K., just as the government was announcing its new dash for gas, Department of Energy published figures showing renewables had delivered 24 percent of the country’s electricity in the first two quarters, up from just 4 percent in 2004, and all for the price of half a cup of cappuccino per household per week on family bills. Germany is now at 35 percent renewable electricity. In the US, more coal plants closed in 2015 than in any previous year, more solar capacity was installed, and power sector emissions fell to their lowest levels since 1993.
Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to think that we can abandon nuclear power overnight. With 15 countries relying on nuclear power for 25 per cent or more of their electricity, we have to come to grips with the continued presence of nuclear plants for years to come. And shutting down nuclear plants precipitously, without a sensible long-term plan to replace them with renewables, may not be beneficial. The expansion of coal-fired electricity to fill the gap left by abandoning nuclear, for example, does not amount to progress.
So what can we do? The most important solution is possibly the simplest: conserve energy. Dollar-for-dollar, there is no better way to invest in energy than by improving efficiency. In fact it generally produces savings. Supporting new, more efficient technologies has a huge role in reducing waste, but massive improvements can be achieved just by changing behaviours and choices – which cost nothing to do.
Reducing consumption is also the most sensible way to reduce our ecological footprint. People living in rich countries use an unsustainable and unnecessary amount of energy. Another lesson from the Fukushima experience is that in the aftermath, with nuclear plants temporarily shut down, Japanese consumers managed to quickly reduce their energy consumption by a quarter. Coupled with a well-founded mix of renewable power sources, smarter energy use will
be a key part of moving away from highly-polluting traditional energy generation.
The world needs to create a new global energy policy that matches demand and supply within the limits of sustainable development. This does not need to bring about a decline in quality of life. In the medium-term, it will make it possible to extend decent living standards to all the world’s population. It is imperative that members of the international community work together to develop and distribute clean and renewable sources of energy.
Last but not least, let me express my firm belief that transparent government, combined with open and clear information policies and a commitment to the best possible educational standard for all people, are of utmost importance to solving the complex challenges ahead. In the case of Chernobyl, the only reason the world was able to find out the truth about the disaster and learn from it was that the process of Perestroika and the policy of Glasnost were already being instituted in the Soviet Union. Otherwise the facts and effects would have been withheld, concealed or distorted. Today, people want to have a say in what direction their countries’ economies take. They want to know how it affects the air they breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat, and the future they leave to their children. Governments have a responsibility to respond to those concerns.