Tag: radiation

Statement to PM Shinzo Abe & Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi

Read out at the Remember Fukushima Vigil outside the Japanese Embassy London on 11 March 2016

Statement to:

Mr Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan

Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom

The decision last week to indict executives of Japan’s largest energy utility, Tokyo Electric Power Company, for their failure to prevent the meltdown of three reactors at Fukushima Daiichi is a major step forward for the people of Japan. The fact that this criminal prosecution is taking place at all is a vindication for the thousands of civilians and their dedicated lawyers who are challenging the nation’s largest power company and the establishment system. It is a devastating blow to the obsessively pro-nuclear Abe government, which is truly fearful of the effect the trial will have on nuclear policy and public opinion over the coming years.

Today we stand here in solidarity with the people of Fukushima and Japan to demand a nuclear-free society. Fukushima disasters are not over. The tragedy is still continuing. A similar accident could happen any time anywhere in the world. It is hard to understand how Japan can justify restarting its nuclear reactors and exporting nuclear technology after the Fukushima disaster. Suddenly during 6–8 April 2015, the monitoring posts in Minamisoma detected very high radioactivity.

We now know that a civil nuclear disaster results in devastation similar to a nuclear war. We have the right to live in a world free from this nuclear brutality. Governments have an obligation to protect their citizens and future generations. Children played no part in the policy which led to the disaster at Fukushima. Yet, it is the young and unborn who are the most vulnerable to radiation. They are the future. Nothing is more important than protecting them.

Nuclear power, even without accidents, inevitably creates permanent and deadly contamination. It damages or destroys people’s health, the eco-system and the environment. From uranium mining to nuclear waste, nuclear energy is incompatible with life. Radiation has assaulted people in Japan, UK and other parts of the world repeatedly. The genetic disease will be transmitted into the future generations.

We say, “Enough is enough!” The latest polling shows 59% of Japanese people oppose restarting nuclear reactors, including Sendai. The NRA decision ignores the majority opinion.

The people of Japan, still suffering the ongoing tragedy of Fukushima, understand that the NRA is not protecting the public but only the interests of an industry in crisis. Sendai reactors are now set to restart in July. But, there are more and more sings of volcanic activities in Kyushu which will force Sendai Nuclear Power Plant to be shut again soon.

Sendai, Ikata and Takahama may make headlines in Japan and elsewhere today as a step toward restarts, but it does not change that for an entire year and 10 months, as of 11 August 2015 Japan has been nuclear free.

This is in large part due to the commitment of the people of Japan who have taken to the streets to protest nuclear restarts, have fought and won in courts, have massively reduced energy demand, and rapidly expanded clean, renewable solar panels.

This is impressive leadership from the people which has advanced Japan’s future despite the determination of the Abe Government and dirty energy industries to drag Japan backward into the energy dark ages.

The people have proven their commitment to a clean energy future, and they’ve shown the world that it is possible. It is happening now.

For the sake of our children and future generations, this planet must be protected from deadly nuclear contamination. We, as world citizens, demand the Japanese government implements the following:-

  • Evacuate children and young people from contaminated areas.
  • Reinstate the pre-Fukushima radiation safety standards.
  • Provide uncontaminated water and food to all children and young people.
  • Give free and prompt medical checks and treatments for all those exposed to Fukushima radiation.
  • Monitor contamination accurately and publicise the data immediately.
  • Stop futile and costly decontamination projects.
  • End the state myth that radiation below the so-called “safety” limit is safe.
  • Stop suppressing radiation-related health data and statistics.
  • Abolish nuclear energy and switch to renewables.
  • Abandon nuclear fuel recycling.
  • Stop exporting nuclear power and technology.
  • Disclose up-to-date information on the state of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
  • Take responsibility for decommissioning Fukushima reactors.
  • Prosecute those responsible for the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.
  • Protect the civil rights of anti-nuclear and anti-radiation citizens.
  • Respect freedom of expression and speech.
  • Comply with Japan’s ‘No-Nuclear weapon principles’.
  • Uphold the Peace Constitution. The article 9 should be kept as it is without expanding interpretation for more military action overseas.

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukushima – Japan should share the lessons of these tragedies with the international community, and lead the world towards a nuclear-free future. Remember Fukushima – No to nuclear power! No to restart of Sendai, Ikata and Takahama.

Saikado Hantai. Saikado Hantai, Saikado Hantai, 再稼働反対!再稼働反対!再稼働反対! No to restart of Nuclear Reactors!!

Shigeo Kobayashi on behalf of Japanese Against Nuclear UK

Reverend Gyoro Nagase on behalf of Nipponzan Myohoji

Rik Grafit-Mottram on behalf of Kick Nuclear

Professor Dave Webb, Chairman, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Dr Kate Hudson, General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

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Senator John F. Kennedy re atmospheric nuclear tests, April 2, 1960

REMARKS OF SENATOR JOHN F. KENNEDY AT WISCONSIN ASSOCIATION OF STUDENT COUNCILS, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, APRIL 2, 1960

We have been talking about change and challenge, about leadership and vision. No change in the world about us presents a greater challenge – no problem calls for greater leadership and vision – than the radioactive pollution of our atmosphere by the testing of nuclear weapons.

It is not a simple problem with simple answers. The experts disagree – the evidence is in conflict – the obstacles to an international solution are large and many. But the issue of nuclear tests and their effects is one which should be discussed in the coming months – not as a purely partisan matter, but as one of the great issues on the American scene.

I was glad, therefore, that this issue was raised last Sunday in a constructive and thoughtful way by the Governor of New York. His statement contributed to the dialogue on this basic issue – it represented the position of a leading figure in the Republican Party – and it neither hedged nor equivocated. So I commend Governor Rockefeller for his comments, and hope they will be considered and debated by interested citizens everywhere.

But I must also express my own emphatic disagreement with his statement, which called for this country to resume nuclear test explosions. Such a proposal, it seems to me, is unwise when it is suggested just prior to the reopening of negotiations with the British and Russians at Geneva on this very question. It is damaging to the American image abroad at a time when the Russians have unilaterally suspended their testing. And, while Mr. Rockefeller did suggest that the testing take place underground to prevent fall-out, he discounted the harmful effects of fall-out – which I am unwilling to do.

It is true that the amount of radiation created by bomb tests so far offers no serious threat to the well-being or existence of mankind as a whole. But it is also true that there is no amount of radiation so small that it has no ill effects at all on anybody. There is actually no such thing as a minimum permissible dose. Perhaps we are talking about only a very small number of individual tragedies – the number of atomic age children with cancer, the new victims of leukemia, the damage to skin tissues here and reproductive systems there – perhaps these are too small to measure with statistics. But they nevertheless loom very large indeed in human and moral terms.

Radiation, in its simplest terms – figuratively, literally and chemically – is poison. Nuclear explosions in the atmosphere are slowly but progressively poisoning our air, our earth, our water and our food. And it falls, let us remember, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, on all peoples of all lands, regardless of their political ideology, their way of life, their religion or the color of their skin. Beneath this bombardment of radiation which man has created, all men are indeed equal.

Perhaps the ill effects and the dangers of fall-out from bomb tests can be regarded today, in statistical terms, as minimal. But let us remember that there is still much that we do not know – and that too often in the past we have minimized the perils and shrugged aside these dangers, only to find that our estimates were faulty and that new knowledge inevitably increased our appreciation of these dangers. Let us remember also that our resumption of tests would bring Russian resumption of tests – it would make negotiations even more strained- it would spur other nations seeking entry into the “atomic club”, with their own tests polluting the atmosphere – and, in short, it could precede the kind of long, feverish testing period which all scientists agree would threaten the very existence of man himself.

The arguments advanced in favor of a test resumption are not unreasonable. The emphasis is on the weapons development – the necessity to move ahead “in the advanced techniques of the use of nuclear material.” This reason is not to be dismissed lightly. Because this country cannot hope to match the Soviets in raw numbers of ground forces, we rely on technical military superiority. We need to develop small nuclear weapons and so-called “clean” nuclear weapons, in order to deter their use or other forms of limited aggression by the enemy. This is not, I might add, justification for cutting back our ground forces and our ability to wage conventional warfare – but it is nevertheless important.

But let us remember that our present test suspension – while unilateral – is implicitly conditional on a Russian test suspension. If we are not developing new weapons in the absence of tests, neither are they. If we will make progress militarily through the resumption of tests, so, in all probability, will they. And the facts of the matter are that, generally speaking, we are ahead of the Russians in the development of atomic warheads but behind in the development of delivery systems. Until this lag can be overcome, there is a lesser value for us in testing and developing further “techniques in the use of nuclear material.” In short, for both sides to resume atomic tests today might well turn out to be more of a disadvantage to the west militarily than a help.

I would suggest, therefore, the following alternative position:

1. First, that the United States announce that it will continue its unilateral suspension of nuclear tests as long as the Russians continue theirs, and as long as serious negotiations for a permanent ban with enforceable inspection are proceeding in good faith. Our present extension of the ban expires on December 31st.

2. Secondly, the United States must redouble its efforts to achieve a comprehensive and effective test suspension agreement – and develop a single, clear-cut, well defined and realistic policy for an inspection system and for the other conditions such an agreement must meet. We do not have such a policy today.

3. Third, should it be necessary for our tests to resume, they should be confined to underground and outer-space explosions, and testing of only certain small weapons in the upper atmosphere in order to prevent a further increase in the fall-out menace – and in the hope, moreover, that the Russians and others will be forced by world opinion to follow our example.

4. Fourth and finally, we must step up our studies of the impact of radioactive fall-out and how to control it, through the Public Health Service here at home and a special United Nations monitoring commission abroad. Let us not discover the precise point of danger after we have passed it. Let us not again reject these warnings of peril as “catastrophic nonsense” (to quote Mr. Nixon), as they were rejected in 1956 when put forward by a great Democratic standard-bearer, Adlai E. Stevenson.

These four policy positions are no magic solution – nor can they be achieved overnight without effort. But the new and terrible dangers which man has created can only be controlled by man. And if we can master this danger and meet this challenge, we will have earned the deep and lasting gratitude, not only of all men, but of all yet to be born – even to the farthest generation.