Japan Speaking Series Part 5: Against the Will of the People


In the final installment of Fairewinds’ Japan Speaking Tour Series, Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen reflects on his trip to Japan and, with the Fairewinds Crew, discusses how Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s atomic agenda is in direct conflict with the nuclear safety concerns of the Japanese people. 

Prime Minister Abe continues to push for reactor restart despite the recent Otsu District Court injunction to halt the operation of two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. This is the second judiciary injunction of the Takahama reactors due to insufficient safety standards set by Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA). 

Five years into the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi, it is apparent to district courts that the NRA has yet to pinpoint the cause of the atomic catastrophe. The NRA’s new safety standards do not even cover evacuation plans for atomic power plants, an obvious problem post- Fukushima Daiichi. Listen as the Fairewinds Crew uncovers the truth behind the Abe administration’s new “nuclear safety myth”.

Editorials and Podcast References: 

Crippled Fukushima Reactors Are Still a Danger, 5 Years after the accident – Scientific American

Fukushima's ground zero: No place for man or robot -Reuters

Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister - Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet

Prime Minister Abe Audio Sound Bite

Despite utilities’ attempts, nuclear safety myth can never be revived - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

Fukushima Keeps Fighting Radioactive Tide 5 Years After Disaster

The Mothers Who Set Up a Radiation Lab – BBC News 

Energy News: 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued an order in March 2012 following the 2011 tsunami and triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi that required all nuclear plant operators in the United States to acquire proper equipment and procedures in the event of an extended loss of normal and backup power supplies to emergency equipment. Nuclear safety expert David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists uses this picture in his blog All Things Nuclear to best explain the phased response capabilities required by the NRC: 

Looks good right? Unfortunately, as Lochbaum poignantly points out, “There can be a big difference between the course plotted and the road taken.”

Fukushima Daiichi had a seawall for protection against tsunamis. It worked well for decades, that is, until it met it’s first tsunami. By citing real events at three different US nuclear power plants, Lochbaum reveals that in the event of an actual emergancy, hypotheticals won’t save us from atomic catastrophe.