(image by http://www.tbs.co.jp/newsbird/)
Image courtesy of TBS News bird
A recent court ruling in Japan, Fukui District Court’s landmark ruling on May 21, has brought into question the justification for taking the risks associated with nuclear power.
The ruling states that the risks of earthquake-safety planning concerning nuclear reactors are impossible to measure because the science of earthquake prediction today is not able to allow for the risk of damage to nuclear power plants.
As we can see by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, these risks are and have been seriously underestimated. Even so, the Japanese nuclear corporations are still trying to claim that they can allow for any possible future disaster.
Risk assessment is a core part of any project and it takes into account the profit and other benefits of having a nuclear plant and this is balanced against the social, health and environmental issues.
For a corporation the profit element is the most important as the corporations need to be able to show profits to their shareholders whilst local community and other interested NGOs would normally voice the issues and risks from a social, health and environmental point of view.
Court ruling puts a spanner in the works
AJW.ASAHI.COM reported these facts on the May 21, 2014;
“…An anti-nuclear citizens’ network has translated a Japanese court’s ruling blocking the restarts of two reactors into English, Korean and Chinese to spread the ‘universal values’ of the judgment.
“Part of the translated ruling says: ‘this court considers national wealth to be the rich land and the people’s livelihoods that have taken root there, and that being unable to recover these is the true loss of national wealth.
“…The ruling also says, ‘the operation of nuclear power plants as one means of producing electricity is legally associated with freedom of economic activity and has a lower ranking in the Constitution than the central tenet of personal rights.
“…Lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai, who heads a network of plaintiff groups demanding the abolishment of nuclear energy, said it is ‘extremely rare’ for a Japanese court ruling other than in patent cases to be translated into foreign languages.
“The ruling has resonated with people around the world because it declared universal values by placing priority on the lives of people over the merits of nuclear energy, Kawai said….”
“English translation of the epoch-making Japanese court verdict issuing an injunction against restart of Japan’s nuclear power plants Ohi Units 3 and 4.
“On May 21, 2014, the Fukui District Court in Japan issued a scathing indictment against restart of the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant owned and operated by the second largest electric utility in Japan.
The injunction against the plant is epoch-making because it addresses generic issues applicable to nuclear power plants worldwide.”
English translation of summary now available.
Translation: Greenpeace / Cooperation: Green Action
Kyushu Electric Power fights back regardless
Kyushu Electric power has recently managed to get a ruling from the NRA to restart 2 of its 4 nuclear-reactor units. However, there are some problems with this ruling aside from the Ohi nuclear plant ruling mentioned above.
There are problems with the safety of this nuclear site such as the evacuation plan for the 30,000 residents, in the case of a nuclear incident.
“The (evacuation) plan itself is very sloppy, just slotting bits and pieces into a manual without giving any consideration to the special features of the area,” said Zenyu Niga.
The volcanic issue ignored
Also, aside from earthquake threats there is an issue with volcanoes with this nuclear plant. In fact there was a large eruption in 2013 at a local volcano reported here;
Apart from a number of calderas, Sakurajima, an active volcano, is just 50 Km away and a scientist said, “No-one believes that volcanic risks have been adequately discussed,” said Setsuya Nakada, a professor of volcanology at the University of Tokyo, who advised officials when they were forming regulatory guidelines for monitoring volcanoes.
(image by Christina mac Phearson)
Image courtesy of Christina mac Phearson
The manipulation of safety agencies who wish to ignore the court ruling
Kunihiko Shimazaki, who was one of the members of the post-Fukushima formed NRA that was supposed to oversee a new safety regime, was recently replaced. An executive of the Kyushu Electric Power Co said that “Shimazaki made us suffer,” and on “May 14, executives of the Kansai Economic Federation and Kyushu Economic Federation met with Katsuhiko Ikeda, the NRA secretary-general.”
Then “Yasuhisa Shiozaki, the deputy policy chief, openly criticised Shimazaki when he said, “While it is acceptable to have seismologists on the NRA, the same cannot be said for someone who knows absolutely nothing about nuclear energy.”
These three quotes were reported here:
Shimazaki was then replaced, leaving the NRA without a seismology expert for at least the next 5 years.
A financial problem exists
Concerning the issue of profitability Moodys of Japan KK reported that even if the Kyushu Sendai plant did start the 2 reactors, “The current tariff, implemented in May last year, is based on four of the company’s nuclear power plants being operational — so even if two reactors are restarted Kyushu will still not be able to return to profitability,” Kazusada Hirose, vice president of Moody’s Japan K.K.
Full article here:
Social, environmental and economic manipulation.
Half the population of the local town have voted to reject the local plant even though there is no alternative funding for other infrastructure to stimulate business unconnected to the nuclear industry. A video from an independent media company shows this clearly and shows how the nuclear company uses money to buy its way. That short video can be seen here (Reporting by Hitomi Yagi from TBS News Bird):
In the video, we see that there are many social and economic impacts caused by the nuclear plant, such as the possible loss of fishing grounds if another reactor is to be built on reclaimed land and how bribes to fishermen with compensation payments are used to achieve this. We also see the desperation of business needing customers because no other infrastructure projects have been put in place these last 3 years or so resulting in economic hardship and the local community being split apart.
(image by http://www.tbs.co.jp/newsbird/)
Image courtesy of TBS News Bird
There is even a statement from a local in the video mentioned above, that increasing amount of “fish have been dying for the last five years” and we see some evidence of that, I wonder if that is why the fishermen are so ready to accept the compensation for the loss of their fishing grounds?
It is obvious that local government, national government and nuclear industry has contrived to fully manipulate the situation in this and other areas to the benefit of the nuclear industry and to the detriment of peoples safety, financial security and to the quality of the environment. It is obvious that the Sendai Kyushu reactor will be opened no matter the dangers involved.
(Article changed on July 24, 2014 at 01:41)
Full article here;
The Green Action Japan website has this to say: