Japan's Deadly Game: April 2011 (2005!)

11. April 2011

Japan's Deadly Game of Nuclear Roulette

Leuren Moret

Leuren Moret is an internationally recognized geoscientist and critic of nuclear power who has maintained a long interest in Japan's nuclear power program. As she points out in this article, Japan is the world's 3rd largest nuclear producer, with 52 reactors (versus 72 in France and 118 in the United States). Japan's reactors produce about 30 percent of the country's electricity. Japan is also one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, with a multiplicity of active fault zones. In persuasive detail spelled out in a map, Moret shows that Japan's nuclear industry has generally neglected the earthquake threat and built its reactors close to fault zones. She shows that Japanese government and industry has no serious emergency planning in the event of a disaster. For example, Japan's most seismically dangerous nuclear plant - the Hamaoka reactor in Shizuoka Prefecture - has Emergency Response Centres (ERCs) equipped with tiny decontamination showers that would be of little avail in the event of a serious emergency. In fact, planning for a very serious nuclear emergency is in many respects not possible. According to Moret, the scale of the disaster would be of such magnitude as to render any conceivable emergency response totally inadequate and ineffective.

We reprint geoscientist Leuren Moret's insightful warning published in 2004.

Leuren Moret is a geoscientist who worked at the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory on the Yucca Mountain Project, and became a whistle-blower in 1991 by reporting science fraud on the project and at Livermore. She is an independent and international radiation specialist, and the Environmental Commissioner in the city of Berkeley, Calif. She has visited Japan four times to work with Japanese citizens, scientists and elected officials on radiation and peace issues. She can be contacted at leurenmoret@yahoo.com

This is a slightly edited version of an article that appeared in The Japan Times, May 23, 2004. First posted at Japan Focus on November 29, 2005

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