The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) remembers the 7th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which occurred yesterday. NFLA argue many lessons still need to be learnt from this terrible event and its impact is positive proof of the need to develop renewable and decentralised energy alternatives instead.
7 years later, here is just a short snapshot of the problems that remain:
- It was only just a few weeks ago that TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) was able to finally locate what had happened to the melted fuel from the damaged nuclear reactors. (1)
- Most of the 160,000 people who had to evacuate remain in temporary accommodation and may never return back to their homes, while in other cases there are suggestions the Japanese authorities are putting unreasonable pressure on to communities to return to ‘cleaned’ areas. (2)
- There remains a huge radioactive waste legacy on the site and around the area with hundreds of large steel drums containing radioactively contaminated water and many thousands of bags of contaminated low level radioactive waste stored above ground across the contaminated area. (3)
- Much concern remains about the impact to the marine environment from radioactive discharges as a result of the disaster. There remains pressure to dump much more of the contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. (4)
- There remains real concerns on the impact of the disaster on animal and human health. A study by veterinarian Shin-ichi Hayama, for example, has shown that monkeys in Fukushima have significantly low white and red blood cell counts as well as a reduced growth rate for body weight and smaller head sizes. (5)
- Three previous Japanese Prime Ministers, including the Prime Minister at the time of the disaster, Naoto Kan, have called on Japan to move away from nuclear power and embrace renewables. (6)
- The disaster has led to a rethink on how nuclear emergencies should be dealt with, but their remains much confusion about the impact of the Fukushima evacuation and what should happen in the event of a future incident at a nuclear power plant. (7)
NFLA remember all those who died in the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that affected North East Japan on the 11th March 2011. For NFLA this is part of why it feels the most effective low carbon energy facilities to develop now are renewable, decentralised projects, linked with effective energy efficiency policies and renewable battery storage schemes. Across the world, the deployment of renewable energy speeds up and it remains the safest way to generate low carbon energy as part of a suite of policies to protect the world from the most harmful effects of climate change.
NFLA welcomes and supports participation at the ‘Remember Fukushima’ special meeting in Portcullis House, Westminster on the 14th March from 7pm chaired by Catherine West MP and including speakers such as Kate Hudson, Rika Hirose Haga, Dr Ian Fairlie, Professor Steve Thomas, Professor Andy Stirling and Green Party Deputy Leader Amelia Womack. (8)
NFLA Vice Chair Councillor Feargal Dalton said:
“Fukushima is now as much in the nuclear lexicon to the public as Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Windscale, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are. It is a reminder of the devastation to the local environment that can brought to impacted communities when a nuclear reactor accident like this takes place. There has been much consideration of the disaster but this anniversary reminds us of its very human consequences, which have been deep and long-term to many Japanese people. As renewable energy generation records are continually broken across the world it is surely time to look beyond nuclear, as countries like Germany have done.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) New York Times, 19th November 2017
(2) The Guardian, 10th March 2018
(3) New York Times, 11th March 2017
(4) Independent, 27th November 2017
(5) Beyond Nuclear International, 11th March 2018
(6) See Asahi Shimbun, 11th January 2018
And Democracy Now video of Naoto Kan interview, 11th March 2014
(7) Article on Fukushima evacuation by Dr Ian Fairlie on NFLA website and also on Beyond Nuclear International, 11th March 2018
(8) Remember Fukushima events, 9th -14th March