Appeal of the National Rally on Nuclear Waste

A National Rally on Nuclear Waste, organized by CNIC, Japan Congress against A- and H-Bombs (GENSUIKIN), and Hokkaido Peace Forum, was held in Sapporo, Hokkaido on May 27 to 28. The total attendance over two days was 600, making the rally a big success. A draft proposal urging a drastic shift away from the current legal and policy structure on high-level nuclear waste was presented at the rally and adopted by the participants (it can be viewed here in Japanese). A rally appeal was likewise adopted, and we publish the full appeal here.


Appeal of the National Rally on Nuclear Waste

The Kishida administration has forced through a pernicious amendment to the Atomic Energy Basic Law that clearly states that the utilization of nuclear power is a national duty and makes it possible to operate aging nuclear power plants for more than 60 years. Failing to learn the lessons of the Fukushima nuclear accident and rescusitating the declining nuclear power industry obstructs the diffusion of renewable energy and simply results in Japan falling behind world trends.

The nuclear power plant waste measures being pushed forward as upgraded conditions for this reinvigoration of nuclear power are full of problems. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO), in charge of implementing nuclear waste disposal, is conducting literature reviews at Suttsu Town and Kamoenai Village, both in Hokkaido, and this has brought about divisions in both communities. The government has carried out a deleterious amendment of the basic policy based on the Designated Radioactive Waste Final Disposal Law, carrying out a pilgrimage of persuasion to over 100 municipalities, creating new forums for consultations with mayors who express an interest, and making phased overtures to local persons, such as those active in economic organizations and councils at various levels. We are concerned that moves toward a third and fourth survey location will soon begin in earnest.

The reason for the confusion is the government’s and NUMO’s posture of firstly inducing municipalities through the power of money by giving them subsidies to allow a survey to investigate if their municipality is suitable to host a nuclear waste repository. The first step is to survey existing literature and studies on the area and NUMO claims that this survey is not directly linked with the attraction of a disposal facility. What they should be doing is fostering discussions toward consensus-building on the most appropriate way to handle high-level nuclear waste. The literature survey is a survey for siting a disposal facility, and even if this does not lead on to the next stage due to opposition by persons such as the prefectural governor, the results of the literature survey remain on record.

We have come to meet at Sapporo from all over the country and we have reconfirmed that, given the current policy and technology, geological disposal, the burying of hazardous high-level nuclear waste underground, is impossible in Japan. We have published our proposal in order to demand a shift in government policy and to further deepen discussions in the future. We once again appeal to all municipalities in Japan, who are the subjects of the public recruitment for potential final disposal sites, not to respond to the recruiting efforts.

We call on all people. Let us work together in the struggle to prohibit the geological disposal of high-level nuclear waste, which results in dangerous radioactive pollution. Let us work to the full extent of our power to ensure that the surveys at Suttsu Town and Kamoenai Village do not proceed to the next stage. Let us keep a close watch to see if the government and NUMO makes approaches to municipalities, chambers of commerce, and other organizations. Let us also go forward in demanding an immediate halt to nuclear power generation, which produces high-level nuclear waste, for which there is no disposal method, and demanding a fundamental review of nuclear power policy.

May 28, 2023

Participants in the National Rally on Nuclear Waste

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