Group Introduction An NPO Seeking New Pathways in Science (APAST) Nuke Info Tokyo No. 146

By Masako Sawai*

Photo of establishment ceremony of APAST

On March 11 the great 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred and accordingly the catastrophic accident at Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Where is the molten nuclear fuel from the pressure vessels in reactors 1, 2, and 3 now? Still nobody knows. Combine that with the fact that the “proclamation of the resolution of the accident” by the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is convincing nobody. At present the accident is still ongoing.

This accident has led scientists and engineers to establish an organization that actively communicates for society, searching for new pathways in science – NPO APAST (Union for Alternative Pathways in Science & Technology), whose Director is Masashi Goto and Secretary General is Atsuo Watanabe, both former nuclear containment vessel designers at Toshiba. The Assistant Director is Mitsuhiko Tanaka, a former nuclear pressure vessel design engineer at Hitachi. Other members include a music critic, scholars, a video director, heads of municipalities, and a wide range and variety of working members are coming together.

The myths that nuclear power is “safe” and that everything can be solved by science and technology have collapsed. APAST members believe we have entered an era in which what ought to be done in science and technology needs a fundamental review. APAST evaluates potential, direct and indirect “negative impacts” on ecosystems and human societies caused by technology from an objective, scientific perspective and proposes practical measures for a form of human society that would avoid these problems. In addition, APAST aims to foster people who are able to frame practical action plans.

However, for now the greatest concern of APAST’s main members is to elucidate the cause of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident. Mitsuhiko Tanaka and Katsuhiko Ishibashi (Professor Emeritus of earthquake science at Kobe University) member of APAST became members of the Diet’s Accident Investigation Committee, working on a review of the earthquake and nuclear accident from a different viewpoint to the government and TEPCO. Look forward to seeing their reports.


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