On the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, April 26, 2011
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, precipitated by the huge earthquake and ensuing tsunamis that hit eastern Japan on March 11, has created fear of radiation exposure and radioactive contamination not just in Japan, but throughout the world.
The Japanese Government, electric power companies and academics who served them boasted that Japan's nuclear power plants were completely safe, that a nuclear accident would not occur. Their responsibility is heavy indeed. Many people had long warned of precisely the situation that is now in progress - of the danger of a huge earthquake and tsunami, of an accident caused by a loss of power supply, of the danger of concentrating several plants on a single site, of the problems facing suicide squads required to respond to a major accident, of the defects of emergency response preparations which only covered a 10 kilometer radius - but these warnings were not taken seriously. The attitude of promoting nuclear energy no matter what is one of the reasons why the response on this occasion by the Japanese Government and Tokyo Electric Power Company has at each stage been too late. To nevertheless claim that this was 'beyond expectations' is both immoral and criminal.
Reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have not achieved cold shut down. The situation continues to be unpredictable. It is important to maintain cooling function and to take measures to prevent further contamination from releases and leaks of radioactive material. It goes without saying that in doing so sufficient consideration must be given to the safety of the workers. Radiation exposure standards for residents should not be set excessively high to meet accident circumstances. Rather, it is necessary to rapidly take all steps to enable the earliest possible adherence to the original standard of less than 1 millisievert per year. Decommissioning and disposal of the huge heap of radioactive waste that Fukushima Daiichi has become will probably be a long battle extending over decades.
We have continued to oppose nuclear power and nuclear facilities, calling for a phase out of nuclear energy through activities throughout Japan. Hoping for the earliest possible end to the crisis at Fukushima Daiichi, whatever we are able to do together we wish to do it now.
As a first step we are issuing this joint statement today, 25 years after the Chernobyl accident. At an appropriate time we will launch a large national action demanding a formal decision to permanently close down the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Stations, to cancel the nuclear fuel cycle program, to cancel plans to build new nuclear reactors and to shut down aging nuclear reactors and we will propose a process for achieving a steady phase out of nuclear energy.
We refuse to allow the earth to be further subjected to radioactive contamination and radiation exposure. For the sake of all living beings, let us walk together towards the achievement of a nuclear-free society.
April 26, 2011, endorsed by 87 Japanese NGOs