November 30, 2011
Greenpeace today renewed its demand for the Japanese government to keep its nuclear reactors offline as simulation maps of potential accidents at Japan’s nuclear plants – used in the development of nuclear emergency response efforts – are completely inadequate, and have not been updated since the Fukushima disaster.
Following a Greenpeace freedom of information request on November 25, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) released SPEEDI simulations of the radioactive contamination spread from all nuclear plants in Japan (1). These maps show only extremely low releases of radioactivity over a 10km area around the plants in the event of meltdown, making any emergency response plan based on them totally insufficient should another severe disaster like the Fukushima Daiichi crisis occur (2).
“The simulation of radioactive releases from the Ohi reactor for example, is scandalously inadequate. It foresees a radiation release in the order of 10,000 times less severe than what could happen during a major incident (3),” said Jan Vande Putte, Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaigner. “Similar over-optimistic scenarios have been used for reactors all over Japan. Hoping for the best is absolutely the wrong way to devise an emergency response plan.”
Greenpeace met with officials from MEXT and the SPEEDI programme today, and they confirmed that the current simulations are limited to low-level releases, and that the system needed upgrading to cover larger releases and wider areas beyond 10km from the plants.