Japan Social Democratic Party: “No need for electrical energy from nuclear plants”
Japan will not need electrical energy from nuclear plants this summer and next summer, according to SDP leader
Tokyo – 11.07.11 – Amid the struggle by Japan’s PM Naoto Kan (Democratic Party) to gain control of the Fukushima No1 nuclear power plant, Mrs Mizuho Fukushima, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Japan briefed the foreign correspondents in Tokyo about the new action plan her party brought up on May 25 to get Japan out of dependence from nuclear power plants.
At 2011 Athens International Meeting of Social Democratic Parties
In Athens last week, Mrs Fukushima attended a directors’ meeting of international social democratic parties throughout the world, with participants from some 75 countries and representatives from 90 social democratic parties, where she took the leadership to the discussions on “the lessons of Fukushima” and the project of her party to create a nuclear free nation.
Mrs Fukushima’s project received support from socialist parties from UK, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Venezuela and Cyprus. A Resolution was passed with Socialists International, which supports a general direction heading towards a nuclear free world.
Mrs Fukushima said that one the one hand the SDP has a great obligation to be very active in the Japanese political scene but at the same time to ensure that the activities and what is happening in Japan is well understood by the international community, and make sure that information is shared by all.
SDP action plan to stop nuclear power plants in Japan by 2020
On May 25, the SDP made an announcement of the action plan to eliminate dependence on nuclear energy, specifically to have zero nuclear power plants in Japan by 2020, and reliance on natural reliable energy sources. Mrs Fukushima said the SDP is two years ahead of Germany’s plan to start eliminate their power plants by 2022.
Mrs Fukushima reminded that for a long time already, the SDP has been the only party in Japan that was willing to free the country from atomic power plant: “recently, after the nuclear accident, many other parties in Japan have began to adopt the idea of ending our reliance on nuclear power plants”.
Mrs Fukushima said that her party has come out with specific numbers and data which was not available for a long time before the accident, as the power companies were refusing to release them: “For this summer, and for next summer, according to the calculations provided by my party, if electric companies and other average people are cooperative and creative in the way they use and save electric power, we will be able to meet electrical energy needs without relying on any nuclear power plant at all”.
Two lessons were learned from the Fukushima accident: first is that if an accident actually occurs, people have difficult time controlling the accident. And bringing the plant to closure is a very difficult task. Also the SDP came up with a report that shows that in Europe, there are very few earthquakes, except in Southern Europe, but almost none in Finland, Sweden or Northern Europe, whereas Japan sits up on four tectonic plates. Therefore, there is a big danger for nuclear power plants accidents in Japan: “Worldwide, the average age of operating nuclear power plants is about 22 years, in Japan however we have 54 power plants and 19 currently operating, out of 54 plants, 3 are over 40 years of age, therefore, the older the power plant is the more quickly it should get closed up”.
The closing of the Hamaoka plant
In regard to the Hamaoka power plant, the SDP did a great deal of work to get it shut down. We have raised question in the Diet and we also approached PM Kan to convince them that this should be done.
It is said that the area of Hamaoka will probably subjected to a magnitude 8 or a higher earthquake within the next 30 years. The probability is over 70 to 80 percent: “As a result, looking at all the data, we can see that this power plant is build on a soil that is very unsafe with regards to earthquakes”.
PM Kan’s stress tests
In regards of the stress tests suddenly announced by Mr Kan, the SDP feels that although it is not enough to have a stress test, it is better than going ahead and restarting these reactors without any special conditions at all. Mr Kan’s announcement of the stress tests is like a strong stop to this great momentum that has been brought up by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry): “METI wanted to restart the nuclear power plants at all cost, and they were very enthusiastic about this. The fact that these stress tests put a stop to this momentum is a good thing”.
At a press conference on the same day, the government announced that they would conduct these stress tests in two phases. Mrs Fukushima said: “we feel very strongly that the government should actually do a complete inspection of the safety standards. In the case of Fukushima, the safety standards established by NISA (Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency) and by (JAEC) Japan Atomic Energy Commission were obviously inadequate, therefore a serial safety inspection should be done”.
Nathalie and Kyoko