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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 September 2 - 8  > Nuclear power plants lack safety controls: Japan scientists
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2009 September 2 - 8 [ENVIRONMENT]

Nuclear power plants lack safety controls: Japan scientists

September 6 & 7, 2009
The Japan Scientists’ Association on September 5 and 6 held a symposium at Niigata University to discuss issues related to nuclear power plants. Many speakers criticized the present government policy of promoting nuclear power generation and for underestimating its risk. They pointed out that the planned plutonium-thermal project is technologically unsound.

In Niigata Prefecture where the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station was damaged two years ago in the huge earthquake, various incidents of misconduct such as intentionally-hiding the existence of active faults, accident cover-ups, and data manipulation, have taken place one after another for over 40 years.

In Shizuoka Pref. where the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plan is located, a big quake is expected to occur in the near future, but on the grounds that the present science technology is still unable to predict the magnitude, the safety of the plant built at the focal region of a possible quake came under question.

Taking the example of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa N-plant damaged in the quake, Professor Emeritus of Fukui Univ. Yamamoto Fujio pointed out the various problems in the current seismic design standards on machine structures.

Professor at Niigata Univ. Suzuki Kenji stressed the need to develop technology and training program at local universities or institutes in order to ensure the safety.

Furthermore, for the existence of human beings, some called for a life style based on natural energy sources and emphasized the importance of pursuing technology and development in renewable energy, including photovoltaic, wind, solar, and biomass powers.

“Reprocessing all the amount of spent nuclear fuel will produce a surplus of plutonium,” said Noguchi Kunikazu, an expert in nuclear power science at Nihon University. He proposed that reprocessing plant operations for the commercial use of plutonium be suspended and that uranium enrichment facilities be placed under control of a multinational watchdog.

Iwai Takashi, nuclear technology researcher, also pointed his finger at the folly of the planned plutonium-thermal project by showing that plutonium levels in fuel in Japan is 20-40 percent higher than that in other countries.
- Akahata, September 6 & 7, 2009
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