With tomorrow’s scheduled shutdown of Japan’s Tomari nuclear power plant the country will be free from nuclear power for the first time since 1966. Can it seize this historic opportunity? Here at Greenpeace we believe it can.
All of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors will be offline. Now, the country’s government must learn from its mistakes of the past, listen to its people and scientists, keep reactors offline, and usher in Japan’s renewable and sustainable future. History is within their grasp.
There will never be a better time. Since the terrible events of March 11 last year when an earthquake and tsunami triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan has shown that nuclear power can be abandoned quickly and with an invisible impact on people’s daily lives. The Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano has said there will be no restrictions on electricity use or rolling blackouts.
The operator of the destroyed Fukushima reactors, Tokyo Electric Power added “for the electricity supply and demand in the foreseeable future, we expect to maintain stable supply.” If there are electricity shortages this summer it will be the fault of the government who instead of properly planning energy conservation and pouring resources into renewables have been obsessed with restarting Japan’s discredited nuclear reactors as fast as possible.
So why is the government frantically trying to restart the country’s reactors without the consent of the people living nearby? Why should the people of Japan suffer more nuclear risks? The country’s nuclear reactors and infrastructure are in no state to withstand another major earthquake that experts warn is almost inevitable.
by Justin McKeating
The town of Pripyat that was left abandoned after the nuclear disaster. © Greenpeace / Steve Morgan
Today is the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It is a disaster that left a 30-kilometre uninhabitable exclusion zone, displaced hundreds of thousands of people, and still threatens the lives of tens of thousands.
The legacy of the day that Chernobyl’s Reactor Four exploded, throwing radioactive contamination across Europe, is still with us and will be for many years to come. We must never forget the magnitude of the disaster and the people who suffered then and continue to suffer now as Greenpeace found when we returned to the area surrounding Chernobyl last year. Continue reading
The Washington Post chose Earth day to pose the question: Can the world fight global warming without nuclear power? In fact, we can do just that, as Greenpeace’s Energy Revolution scenario has shown. Let’s keep the nuclear reactors on the drawing board; they don’t meltdown there, like they do in real life. Continue reading
Blogpost by Justin McKeating, Greenpeace International
Occupation of a watch tower on the Belene site with the mothballed construction in the background that was stopped in 1992 and was to be torn down completely in 2009. - (c) Greenpeace / Prochazka
Yet more news in the past week about how bad an investment nuclear power is. In Bulgaria a plan to build a nuclear power plant was cancelled while in the UK plans to build two new plants were thrown into chaos.
First, on March 28, the Bulgarian government announced it was cancelling the Belene nuclear power plant, construction of which began way back in 1981. This brings to a successful close10 years of resistance to this bad idea. There were death threats against one of the key activists, Albena Simeonova, legal actions, and the involvement of hundreds of activists, volunteers, citizens, experts, politicians and civil servants.
Blogpost by Justin McKeating
Japan is almost completely free of nuclear power now, after the shutdown on March 26, 2012 of the Number 6 reactor at the country’s Kashiwasaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant. No nuclear reactors are now operational on the Japanese mainland. When scheduled maintenance closes the Number 3 Tomari reactor on the island of Hokkaido on May 5 2012, all of Japan’s 54 reactors will be out of action. The country will be nuclear-free for the first time since 1966. Continue reading
Blogpost by Mareike Britten
More than 50 organisations and individuals from around the world have joined forces with Greenpeace and called for investments in safe, renewable energy in order to end the threat of nuclear power. That message is in the form of an open letter being delivered to world leaders following the first anniversary as a reminder that the Fukushima nuclear disaster must be seen for what it is: another overwhelming piece of evidence that nuclear energy can never be safe and must be phased out.
The Unusual Suspect
It’s a year after Fukushima and there’s a new book out about nuclear power in America, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Public Meltdown is about the struggle by the state of Vermont to gain control over and close the 40-year-old Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and the efforts by the plant’s owner – Entergy Nuclear of New Orleans – to keep it open. The book, however, is not the usual suspect’s tale of fighting the good fight to save the planet.
Yes, it’s about the pros and cons of nuclear power and the Vermont Yankee story is a compelling back-and-forth battle, but what the book reveals is applicable to public policy debates beyond nuclear power and beyond the environmental movement. Anyone interested in shifting the body politic, anywhere for any reason, will find this work closer to George Lakeoff than Helen Caldicott.
The book’s author, Richard Watts, a research professor at the University of Vermont, is primarily interested in the way we make public policy. Entergy Nuclear wants to influence government to keep the plant open, so it frames the issue as “safe, reliable, affordable energy.” Environmentalists want to close the plant and frames the issue as “dirty, dangerous and outdated accident waiting to happen.”
Dr. Watts tracks the debate – and the up-and-down fortunes of each “frame” – by counting the number of times each frame appears in the media over a number of years. Who’s repeating Entergy’s frame? Who’s repeating the opponents’ frame? Whose frames are the politicians and editorial boards repeating? Have they changed their frame? When? Why?
It’s a book about a nuke fight, but for Dr. Watts’s media laboratory, it’s a case study from a small state with a media market a researcher can get his arms around. The insights he draws from the public debate – which has now shifted to the courts – are ones everyone in the environmental movement would be well advised to heed.
(Mark Floegel is a Senior Investigator with Greenpeace and lives in Burlington, VT)
Blogpost by Kumi Naidoo
Fukushima. Greenpeace activists during the Global Day of action to commemorate the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Today our thoughts are once more with the people of Japan; our condolences are with those who lost their loved ones and our admiration is with those who are valiantly rebuilding their lives and communities one year after the earthquake and tsunami. We wish them continued strength.
In remembering the terrible consequences of natures full force through an earth quake and tsunami it is also important that we do not allow the accompanying nuclear crises to be painted as a natural disaster: it was man made! Continue reading
Blogpost by Jan Beránek
Fukushima. Greenpeace activists during the Global Day of action to commemorate the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. 03/05/2012
Greenpeace activists in 19 countries took action today to remind their governments that the next Fukushima disaster will be their fault.
The nuclear disaster at Fukushima has shown us once again that nuclear reactors are fundamentally unsafe. That’s why Greenpeace activists are staging flash mobs, hanging banners on prominent buildings, holding events in public squares and at busy intersections and delivering messages to governments. Continue reading