Former Japan Prime Minister calls for “global network” to oppose nuclear power and build a renewable energy future
Jun 5, 2013 - BeyondNuclear.org
On June 4, 2013, the San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts, Friends of the Earth and Physicians for Social Responsibility hosted an expert panel on the lessons of the tsunami-triggered Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe for California to bolster the campaign to permanently shut down the damaged San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in San Clemente, CA. The guest speakers, former Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan, former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair Gregory Jaczko, former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford and Fairewinds Energy consultant and nuclear safety engineer Arnie Gunderson , repeatedly warned that nuclear power is inherently dangerous and that another nation crippling nuclear catastrophe is only a matter of time if societies continue to rely on and expand atomic power.
Naoto Kan called upon environmental advocates around the world to work with him to build a “global network” where nuclear safety is understood to mean “Zero nuclear power is the safest”. In the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, Kan said, “I concluded that the only way to contain this risk was to create a society that does not rely on nuclear power.” In the closing days of his administration, Kan leveraged his resignation with the opposition party to pass energy legislation establishing Japan's feed-in tariff requiring the nation's electric utilities to purchase renewable energy. The policy shift has sparked a solar energy boom from non-utility producers such as farmers, local governments and cooperatives. In 2013 alone, Japan is forecast to install between 6.1 and 9.4 gigawatts of solar energy panels or roughly the equivalent capacity of seven modern nuclear reactors.
The former NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko cited the American Nuclear Society in estimating the cost of the Fukushima nuclear accident to be $500 billion at minimum. He further warned that the controversial proposed restart of the SONGS Unit 2 for trial run at 70% was “not one that instills a tremendous amount of confidence in me” and suggests the company has very real safety concerns about operating the nuclear plant at 100%. In fact, the agency’s own Atomic Safety Licensing Board has determined that start-up at reduced power is an “experiment” that warrants an independent investigation before restart.
The archived webcast is now available in its entirety at The Citizens' Oversight Project.