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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 September 3 - 9  > Volcanologists question the safety of Sendai NPP
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2014 September 3 - 9 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Volcanologists question the safety of Sendai NPP

September 9, 2014
Akahata ‘current’ column

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is set to soon finalize its report confirming the safety of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture. However, some experts have recently raised fundamental questions over how to evaluate the risk of potential volcanic eruptions near the plant.

The NRA held meetings over the last two weeks regarding the best way to detect signs of volcanic eruptions. At the meetings, volcanologists insisted that it is almost impossible to predict the time or the scale of volcanic eruptions. Their argument contradicts the claim of the watchdog agency and the plant operator.

The Sendai plant is located in the southern part of Kyushu, where there are many huge calderas. Even the plant operator, Kyushu Electric Power Company, acknowledged the possibility that pyroclastic flows had reached the current plant site in the past.

The draft report compiled by the NRA in July asserts that the nuclear power station would barely be affected by volcanic activities. The authority gave the OK to the power company’s plan to stop the reactors operations and carry the nuclear fuel out if they find any signs of imminent catastrophic eruptions.

The volcanologists also criticized the utility for maintaining that the volcano near the power facility will remain in stable condition based only on one scientific paper.

While Japanese Communist Party lawmakers and other experts warned years ago that the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant may lose all its power if it is hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami, TEPCO failed to implement necessary countermeasures and it contributed to the nuclear disaster three and a half years ago. Have the state and the power companies forgotten this bitter lesson already?

Past related article:
> 7,000 people hold rally to oppose restart of Sendai NPP [August 31, 2014]
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