Press Release
For immediate release

April 22, 2002

Commencement of Lawsuit Seeking Injunction on Hamaoka Nuclear Plants

On April 25, 2002, more than a thousand plaintiffs, mostly citizens, filed a lawsuit against Chubu Electric Power Company, the operator of Hamaoka nuclear power station in Hamaoka town, Shizuoka prefecture, claiming that all the Hamaoka nuclear reactors should be shut down.

There are four nuclear reactors in Hamaoka, with Hamaoka 3 and 4 currently operating. Last November, Hamaoka 1 (BWR, 540 MW) had two major accidents; one was a pipe rupture caused by a hydrogen explosion and the other was a water leak from the reactor vessel. Due to these accidents, Hamaoka 1 and 2, both of which were constructed in the 1970s, have been temporarily shut down. While the causes of the accidents have not been fully clarified, Chubu Electric has said that it would resume the operation of Hamaoka 2 in the near future (This could be within a few months.)

The Hamaoka nuclear power plants are located in the middle of an intraplate earthquake-prone region, where the Great Tokai Earthquake is expected to occur. This quake, which a number of seismologists have predicted will occur within a few years, could well be 15 to 30 times more powerful than the 1995 Hanshin earthquake.

In spite of citizensí and scholarsí concern, the Japanese government and Chubu Electric have been insisting that these nuclear power plants were constructed in accordance with the government safety guidelines, and would withstand any seismic movements, though there has never been any instance in the world in which a nuclear power plant was hit by a M8 class earthquake. There are also many concerns relating to the plantsí aging.

According to a simulation done by Kyoto University, if Hamaoka 2, 3, and 4 had major accidents simultaneously, and evacuation were not carried out properly, 21.6 million people, 17% of the entire Japanese population, would be killed by acute and late radiation effects.

For further information
Ms. Mari Takenouchi at 81-90-4002-3959 (international)
E-mail: mari999@jk9.so-net.ne.jp