Tomari Unit 3 Resumed as if Fukushima Never Happened
An End to Nuclear Power
Kaori Izumi (email@example.com)
Director, Shut Tomari
Co-Director, Save Fukushima Children Hokkaido, Japan
Washington DC, New York, Indian Point, USA
19-23 Sep 2011
Immediately after 3.11 Fukushima-Daiichi disaster occurred, “Shut Tomari” was founded to shut down the three Tomari nuclear power plants in Hokkaido, the northern most island of Japan. Ever since we have done everything we could think of, i.e. collection of signatures, demonstrations, petitions and negotiations locally and globally with all involved institutions.
Finally, on August 1st we filed an injunction lawsuit against the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), demanding him not to approve the final safety tests on Tomari Unit 3. The Fukushima Daiichi accident is ongoing, its investigation not completed, the cause of the accident not known, and no necessary new safety measures set up. Nevertheless, on August 17th, Tomari Unit 3 became the first commercial reactor in the world to be resumed only six months after 3.11.
For METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), fearing for all nuclear power plants in Japan to stop, it was a must for them to resume a first one after Fukushima with whatever means. Hokkaido Electric could not allow all three Tomari reactors to stop as it would prove that Hokkaido could manage without nuclear power.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) announced that Tomari 3’s safety is guaranteed as if for them Fukushima had never happened. NISA is the one who approved the safety of Fukushima Daiichi before 3.11 in spite of clear evidence concerning earthquakes and tsunamis, and NISA is therefore one of the entities responsible for the catastrophe. A thief is a watchman of its own.
Tomari 3 was a soft target with the Governor Harumi Takahashi who is a former METI pro-nuclear bureaucrat. As citizen’s voices against resumption of Tomari 3 were growing loud, the governor bypassed the Hokkaido legislature, and Hokkaido residents. Even the people living in Tomari were not consulted at all.
Then it was revealed, and we confirmed it with the Hokkaido Electoral Control Committee, that, “Hokkaido Electric board members are faithful donors of Governor Harumi Takahashi; also, Hideo Minamiyama, the president of “Hooshunkai”, her political fund managing organization is a former president of Hokkaido Electric; and former employees of the Hokkaido Government were re-employed by Hokkaido Electric”. Our own investigation revealed that a former Chief of Hokkaido Prefecture’s Nuclear Power Safety Division is re-employed by Hokkaido Electric on
On August 26th it was reported that Hokkaido Electric rigged to get a majority YES opinions in a symposium on MOX fuel held in 2008 by instructing employees to attend as citizens and voice opinions for the program, and more of such cases followed. It is exposed that rigging was “business as usual” for Hokkaido Electric, who regularly mobilized its employees not only on MOX fuel but also on construction of Tomari 3 in 1999 and 2000. Hokkaido Electric’s intention then was to mobilize 5,000 YES opinions for its construction.
Nuclear power has been promoted for decades as a national project based on the cozy relationship between METI, electric companies, business circles, academia, media, and the judiciary. A new law was passed in July to help out Tokyo Electric from its bankruptcy with huge subsidies from taxpayers, while no measures are being taken to help individual victims of Fukushima from bankruptcy. This is a democracy issue we are struggling with.
The immense suffering of people affected by the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster can only be given meaning if we now learn from this catastrophe and those that preceded it at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and elsewhere. Can the world afford another Fukushima? We are appealing to the world to put an end to the age of nuclear power in the wake of Fukushima. Otherwise it can happen again, at Tomari, Indian Point, or anywhere at any time.