The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) warmly welcomes a visit to Wales by the former Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, to talk about the Fukushima disaster and hear his call for the UK Government and Welsh Government to turn its back on new nuclear build.
Mr Kan will be speaking in Cardiff Bay and in Anglesey on the 25th and 26th February. His visit to the UK is being fully supported by the local groups People Against Wylfa B (PAWB), Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Cymru, CND Cymru, Nuclear Free Local Authorities Welsh Forum and the Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith. (1)
Mr Kan was the Prime Minister at the time of the Fukushima disaster, which saw the near destruction of nuclear reactors on the site and widespread radiation leaks in March 2011. As the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster draws near, there remain major logistical issues in decommissioning the site safely, and dealing with large levels of radioactively contaminated water. Just this weekend gone, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has detected high levels of radioactive substances in a drainage channel on the plant’s premises. The Tokyo Electric Power Company is currently investigating the cause, amidst concerns that contamination levels up to 70 times greater than the already-high radioactive status seen at the plant campus has been detected leaking into a nearby bay. (2)
Mr Kan’s main message to the UK and Welsh Governments, and to Hitachi, the developers of the proposed Wylfa B nuclear power reactor will be:
“What occurred in Fukushima in 2011 was caused by humans, not natural disaster. It is clear to me that what caused this catastrophe was our commitment to an unsafe and expensive technology that is not compatible with life on this planet. The only safe option when it comes to nuclear power is to abandon your plans for nuclear power. It simply is not worth the risk.
“Prior to the meltdown at Daiichi, Japan’s nuclear industry was confident it had all required safety measures in place. Within hours of the tsunami, it became quite clear that our physical and communications infrastructure was insufficient. As a result, we came close to causing a disaster that would have required the evacuation of a 155 mile radius, perhaps keeping people from their homes for as long as 30 years. That would have included Tokyo. Half the country would now be lost to us.”
“The idea of nuclear energy as the cheapest form of energy has been fundamentally overturned. With no solution yet found for dealing with the vast amounts of spent fuel, it cannot be considered clean. When renewable energy sources are so well developed and ready to take the place of nuclear power, investing further in nuclear energy is irresponsible.” (3)
NFLA is delighted to support this short tour of Wales by Mr Kan and fully supports his call to abandon new nuclear build at Wylfa, Hinkley Point and Sellafield Moorside.
NFLA Chair Councillor Mark Hackett said:
I am very much looking forward to meeting Mr Kan, who dealt as best he could with the awful effects of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. This was at a time when North East Japan had also been badly damaged by one of the worst earthquake and tsunami incidents to ever affect the planet. Mr Kan has been a vocal critic of nuclear power ever since and I know will provide a powerful personal testimony that all sectors of political opinion in Wales and the UK should, and must, heed. Fukushima is an event whose impact has not gone away and it is still causing great problems in Japan, where many thousands of people remain in temporary accommodation unlikely to ever return to their homes. We should heed his urgent call and reconsider support for new nuclear power stations at Wylfa, Hinkley Point and Sellafield Moorside.”
For more information on this media release please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary on 0161 234 3244 / 07771 930196.
For more information on Mr Kan’s visit please contact Jill Gough 01239 851188 or Brian Jones 01792 830330 (CND Cymru) for the Cardiff visit and Dylan Morgan 01248 750218 (work) / 01248 722184 (home) (PAWB) and Robat Idris 01248 450126 (work) / 07799 476696 (mobile) for the Anglesey visit.
Notes for editors:
(1) A delegation led by Mr Naoto Kan, former Prime Minister of Japan, Dr Tetsunari Iida, Director of the Japan Institute for Renewable Energy Policy and Mrs. Yoshiko Aoki, an evacuee from the Fukushima disaster will speak at a special event chaired by the Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly in the Pierhead Building, next to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. The event will take place on Wednesday 25th February from 6pm – 8pm.
The delegation will travel up to Anglesey on the 26th February and will speak at the gates of the Wylfa Nuclear Plant and visit farmers, Richard and Gwenda Jones, who have steadfastly refused all attempts to buy their land for the development of Wylfa B. The delegation will then speak to members of Ynys Mon / Isle of Anglesey Council, before addressing a public meeting at the Carreg Bran Hotel, Llanfair Pwll at 1pm.
(2) NHK World Japan, 22nd February 2015
(3) Mr Kan’s quote has been passed from his office to the NFLA through the organisers of this visit.