Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Re-Starting Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture is Genocidal

Japan Today: Group files injunction to stop restart of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors

[Excerpted] "A group filed an injunction on Monday to stop the restart of Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture.

The 130 plaintiffs, including former residents of Fukushima Prefecture, said that it would be dangerous to restart the plant’s seven reactors when the the cause of the Fukushima nuclear crisis was still under investigation, Sankei Shimbun reported."

Majia here: I am going to post one of the comments found at Japan Today concerning this article:

Nandakandamanda Apr. 24, 2012 - 10:51AM JST

General discussion on nuclear plants is fine, but this article is about Kashiwasaki Kariwa which is the world's biggest I believe.

It was struck and trashed by a huge earthquake about five years years ago but the damage was quite successfully covered up, with the complicity of the IAEA. A kind of mini prelude to Fukushima. (See Wiki)

Subsequently they have repeatedly tried to fire up some, but not all, of the damaged reactors, with mixed results.

The earthquake shocked the plant, but more so the operators and local citizens when they discovered that it had been sitting on a previously 'undiscovered' (underestimated?) fault line.

I can understand why the authorities might push to restart some of the vital reactors there, but I can better understand the citizens' very real and legitimate concerns over serious problems that have not yet been addressed in public.
[end comment by Nandakandamanda]

Majia here: I looked up the plant and sure enough Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is the world's largest in terms of "net electrical rating"

The Wiki article also notes that the plant was shutdown in 2007 after an earthquake that exceeded plant design. 3 units were eventually re-started, beginning in 2009.

In April 2011, Tepco claimed that the plant was not impacted at all by the 3/11 earthquake

However, an excellent article on nuclear disaster cover-ups found here http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/mar2011/tepc-m17.shtml details the absolute corruption within Japan's nuclear regulatory agency and Tepco specificallly. This article addresses this plant directly:

Japan’s TEPCO: a history of nuclear disaster cover-ups. By Michael Head World Socialist Website. March 17, 2011

[Excerpted] "...in July 2007, the 6.8 quake that shut down TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant demonstrated the real nature of the company’s assurances. The earthquake, 10 kilometres offshore from the Honshu west coast plant, caused subsidence of the main structure, ruptured water pipes, started a fire that took five hours to extinguish, and triggered radioactive discharges into the atmosphere and sea. The company initially said there was no release of radiation, but admitted later that the quake had released radiation and had spilled radioactive water into the Sea of Japan. Seismologist Katsuhiko Ishibashi warned that had the epicentre been 10 kilometres to the southwest and at magnitude 7, Kashiwazaki City would have experienced a major emergency.

Amid a public outcry, the government again put on a display of anger. According to media reports, a senior Japanese government official hauled TEPCO’s president into his office “for a rare and humiliating verbal caning”. The official was “furious” because TEPCO management had “initially misled his officials—and not for the first time, either—about the extent of breakdowns at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa”.

The 2007 closure of TEPCO’s largest nuclear plant contributed to the company posting its first ever losses over the past two years. It is now the world’s most indebted utility, with current net borrowings of $88 billion. This financial crisis has driven management to slash costs and boost output from its other plants, no doubt also at the expense of safety. TEPCO’s “2020 Vision” document pledges to “accelerate cost reduction efforts” and raise the non-fossil fuel (mainly nuclear) proportion of its generation from 33 to 50 percent....

Majia here: Re-starting this plant is genocidal, particularly in the context of all the recent earthquake activity in Japan.

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