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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 July 2 - 8  > Gov’t is disseminating new nuclear safety myth: city mayor
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2014 July 2 - 8 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]
column 

Gov’t is disseminating new nuclear safety myth: city mayor

July 8, 2014
Akahata ‘current’ column

It has been one year since Japan’s government implemented the new safety standards for atomic power plants. Based on the standards, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is now screening power companies’ applications for restarting their idled nuclear reactors.

The NRA is expected to issue a draft of the screening results of the two reactors of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture in the near future. In the meantime, there is no end to the criticisms pointing out various flaws in the safety standards themselves.

In April, Hokkaido’s Hakodate City Mayor Kudo Toshiki filed a lawsuit seeking a halt to the ongoing construction of the Oma NPP, which is in Aomori’s Oma Town which is across the Tsugaru Straits from Hakodate. Last week, Mayor Kudo stated as follows in court: The state authorities have completely failed to check whether local residents can safely evacuate the nearby areas in the event of a severe accident. The administration is trying to create a new myth regarding the safety of nuclear power plants by just repeating that Japan’s safety standards are the “toughest in the world”.

The national government entirely leaves the task of drawing up evacuation plans to local governments. In addition, it has no organ to assess those plans’ effectiveness.

Hakodate City, located about 23 kilometers from the Oma complex, is obliged to draw up an evacuation plan on its own. Kudo complained that his city is unable to prepare a proper evacuation plan because the state and the plant operator have provided no information about the potential danger from nuclear accidents.

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) submitted to the central government in June a written opinion on the regulatory criteria for atomic power stations. It argues that the state should suspend the examination of power utilities’ applications until all relevant municipalities have detailed and effective evacuation plans.

Neither the Abe administration nor the watchdog agency has offered any proof for what they call the world’s “tightest regulations”. They are just working to have the public believe so to be true.

Past related article:
> Hakodate City sues state & power co., seeking halt to NPP construction [April 4, 2014]

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