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Mar
2014
Tuesday 11th
posted by Luke James in Britain

Ministers urged to learn the lessons of Japanese nuclear disaster


Anti-nuclear campaigners told Con-Dem ministers yesterday to learn the lessons of the Fukushima disaster "before it's too late" for Britain.

Activists issued the demand before the third anniversary today of the incident which has left 160,000 Japanese people refugees in their own country.

Tens of thousands of people have rallied in Japan urging their government not to make the same mistakes again.

More than 15,000 people lost their lives in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami that swept away homes along Japan's coast.

And the radiation released by the wrecked Fukushima plant has left the surrounding area empty.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament leader Kate Hudson warned a meeting in Parliament yesterday that it presents a "stark lesson" for Britain.

"Just because the UK doesn't experience earthquakes or tsunamis doesn't mean we're safe from the kind of catastrophe which occurred in Japan," she told the Morning Star before the lobby.

"The Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered three meltdowns ultimately because power was lost to the cooling systems.

"That can happen anywhere and for a multitude of reasons, from a targeted attack, to technical malfunctions, to natural disasters causing power failures and structural damage - as recent flooding in the UK has made all too clear."

Ms Hudson pointed out that recent flooding and earthquakes were near the proposed site of the new Hinkley C reactor.

She accused government ministers of making nuclear the "foundation" of their energy policy despite the risks and "exorbitant" cost.

"Nuclear power has shown itself to be a dangerous and expensive form of energy - we should learn the lessons of Fukushima before it's too late."

The Prospect union, which represents nuclear industry workers, insisted however that lessons have already been learned.

National secretary Gill Wood said: "The accident at Fukushima Daiichi had awful consequences and it is important that lessons from it are learned around the world.

"In the UK we have done this on the basis of the thorough expert report prepared by Dr Mike Weightman.

"Dr Weightman's report was shared with industry and the unions and its recommendations have been implemented."

But campaigners will continue a week of action this evening with a candle-lit vigil outside the Japanese embassy in London to show solidarity with families still suffering the effects of the disaster.

Japanese Against Nuclear UK spokesman Shigeo Kobayashi said it would also send a message to Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to stop his bid to restart nuclear reactors.

He said: "Quite a majority of Japanese people here are against restarting mothballed nuclear power plants.

"But the Abe government is trying to mix the energy source and open them up again.

"All these nuclear power plants in Japan are coming to the end of their life and any similar nuclear accident would be a complete tragedy - the end of Japan."




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