Statement Calling for the Ceasing of Operations
of the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plants
May 20, 2002
(Former Vice Minister
of the National Land Agency)
( Vice Chairperson
of Yukio Ozaki Memorial Foundation)
( Former Vice Chairman
of the Japan Association of Solar Thermal Utilization)
of Plasma Department, American Physics Society)
of the House of Councilors)
Ambassador to Switzerland)
This statement signed by the above members
calls upon the leaders and people of Japan to initiate immediate
action to prevent a catastrophic accident at the Hamaoka nuclear
plants run by Chubu Electric Company, and located at the center
of a source region where a M8 earthquake is predicted.
Last November, Hamaoka Unit 1 had a pipe
rupture accident in its Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS).
Two days later, a radioactive water leak was found from the
reactor vessel of the same unit. The exact causes of the pipe
rupture are yet to be clarified. These serious accidents substantially
undermine, once again, the credibility of the nuclear power
Dr. Kiyoo Mogi, an honorary professor emeritus
of Tokyo University, and former chairman of the Coordination
Committee for Earthquake Prediction and also former chairman
of the Earthquake Assessment Committee for Tokai Earthquake
gave warnings about the Hamaoka nuclear plants in relation
to the predicted Tokai Earthquake. He wrote four articles
in the editorials of Shizuoka newspaper dated November 13
and December 9, 2001, and March 5 and June 5, 2002. The following
are the main points from Dr. Mogi's articles.
- Compared to the very stable ground of western nations
where most nuclear plants are located, the ground in Japan
is quite unstable and big earthquakes frequently occur.
- As we have seen from the experience of 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji
Earthquake Disaster, the so-called the "Safety myth" about
earthquake-resistant structure is not dependable. Each time
a big earthquake occurs, revisions are repeatedly made on
earthquake-resistance standards. It is a fact that we can
never avoid uncertainty regarding the earthquake resistance
- The Coordination Committee for Earthquake Prediction has
been pointing out the possibility of a M8 class earthquake
in the Tokai region since 1969. Consequently, the entire
nation has been making efforts to predict the Tokai Earthquake
and mitigate its foreseen disasters. In the meantime, four
nuclear plants have been constructed one after another at
the center of the predicted source region. This is simply
an abnormal situation and can never be accepted.
It is extremely regrettable that these persuasive
warnings have never been taken seriously by the parties concerned.
Regarding the possibility of a nuclear disaster caused by
an earthquake, it was first announced by a professor of seismology,
Katsuhiko Ishibashi of Kobe University in the October 1997
edition of "The Science" published by Iwanami Shoten.
Japan was the first victim of the military
use of nuclear energy. However, our country is still promoting
civil use of nuclear energy, without taking any lessons from
frequent serious accidents including the criticality accident
in Tokaimura in 1999. It is as if we are now treading the
path towards becoming a victim country because of the civil
use of nuclear energy. The reason why we have decided to issue
our statement is to prevent such a situation by any means
Even if we are able to stop operation of
a nuclear reactor immediately, it will take approximately
three months to let the decay heat to settle down under the
safety level. In other words, if the cooling mechanism does
not function properly during that period, there is a high
possibility that a core meltdown will take place.
Imagine a situation in which a Chernobyl-class
accident occurs in Japan. Unlike the former Soviet Union,
we do not have any system that enables the mobilization of
nearly 900,000 people to overcome the accident. There would
be immeasurable consequences, not only on the current generation,
but also on generations to come. In addition, we cannot expect
any rescue teams from overseas at the accident site, where
controlling the situation would most likely be impossible.
There would be a huge scale of radiation damage not only on
citizens, but also on related industries, local municipalities,
fire and police department personnel and the Self Defense
When it comes to a nuclear disaster caused
by an earthquake, it will be impossible to overcome the aftermath
of the accident, which could lead to a situation in which
“Japan destroys the world.” It is self-evident that Hamaoka
nuclear power plant should be made to cease operations at
the earliest opportunity, whatever the costs.
After September 11, 2001, it has become commonly
recognized that more than 430 nuclear plants and nuclear facilities
such as reprocessing plants could become weapons of mass destruction
once they become the targets of terrorism. It is manifested
by the unanimous agreement reached by the New York City Council
on March 19 to study the possibility of closing the Indian
Point nuclear plants. Before reaching this agreement, 30 municipalities
and two counties came up with their own resolutions and some
environmental groups gathered 7000 petition signatures from
local citizens. In western nations, we can see that civil
society has played a key role in making nuclear phase-out
a main current.
Japan is now facing a numerous of problems-
a stagnating economy, the deepening unemployment issue, widespread
social destruction and so forth. But the nuclear disaster
caused by an earthquake is a problem incomparable with these.
It could cause catastrophic consequences to the people of
Japan. This notwithstanding, the sense of crisis is totally
lacking among the people. This current situation needs to
be corrected immediately.
Even if we close all the nuclear plants in
Hamaoka, we can cover the electricity demand sufficiently.
If private companies suffer from a large amount of losses
due to the ceasing of operations of the nuclear plants, the
government and local municipalities should provide them with
compensation from the standpoint of disaster prevention and
crisis management, as is the case in western nations. Needless
to say, it should be the top priority for those who are engaged
in politics, to protect the lives and properties of the people.
In order to solve this problem in such a
direction, each one of us should recognize our responsibility
and engage in action. What is now needed is the initiation
of a process in which citizens create a public opinion, calling
for the ceasing of operations of the Hamaoka nuclear plants
and, local municipalities, against this background, acting
in consequence. This will eventually move the central government.
We sincerely hope leaders and every citizen in Japan will
stand up and initiate action to achieve this goal.