Sanshiro Kume – An Instructor Inside and Outside School – Nuke Info Tokyo 75
Nuke Info Tokyo 75
On December 16, 1999, Kansai Electric Power Co. announced that data for the MOX fuel for Takahama 4 had been fabricated, and that it had therefore canceled the use of the fuel. Sanshiro Kume – a 74 year-old nuclear scientist who plays a leading part in Japan’s anti-nuke campaign – heard the news at Ayabe city in Kyoto, near the Takahama Plant, where he has lived for about ten years since retiring as a lecturer at Osaka University.
Mr. Kume become popular among local residents through his efforts in writing letters to local newspapers and encouraging local discussions on nuclear power focusing on, but not limiting to, Takahama Plant. Mr. Kume entered the Department of Science of Osaka University in 1944. He worked for a medical company after graduation, but returned to Osaka University in 1950 to work as a lecturer. Before long, Japan began developing nuclear power, and the budget for development was formed in 1954 – the year of Bikini Exposure, which resulted in the death of a Japanese crew member of the ship “Daigo Fukuryu-maru”. The Bikini tests, like the Vietnam War, affected Mr. Kume deeply and led him to change his major from physical chemistry to nuclear chemistry.
Problems in nuclear developments started to be apparent in the 60s and 70s, and some scientists were seen among residents in anti-nuke movements. Mr. Kume was also there. He made hundreds of trips around the country, participating in local meetings and making numerous contributions to the rise of informed public debate on nuclear power. He also led the successful campaign in the 70s against the construction of the Self Defense Force Nike-Missile base at Nose in the north of Osaka. He was an advisor for the nation’s first nuclear lawsuit, served on Ikata 1 nuclear plant in 1973, and has also been involved in other cases, such as those against Monju and Takahama 2. He has always insisted, however, that the efforts of the citizens themselves are of utmost importance.
There are many groups in Kinki area expressing concern over nuke plants in Wakasa which were formed at the suggestion of Mr. Kume. These groups have provided a forum for people to discuss the nuclear power industry, and have enabled citizens, whatever their stance on nuclear power, to focus on the common ground of their justifiable anxiety about accidents at nuclear plants. In addition to his involvement in the Monju case, the recent rush of news about the JCO accident and MOX fuel scandals has kept him very busy. He will be 75 on March 22 – the very day on which the decision regarding the residents’ suit against Monju is due to be given.
By CNIC staff members