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The good news is that 57% of the Japanese are sane and do not want more nuclear after TEPCO’s ongoing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, and the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bad news is that the Japanese Prime Minister-Japanese government don’t care and intend to restart Sendai Nuclear Power Station, near a dangerous volcano on Tuesday.
Sendai in closer
Sakurajima Feb 15 2010 NASA
Sakurajima Aug 19 2010 NASA
Sakurajima in February and August 2010 (NASA).

Apparently not satisfied with Fukushima’s earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster mix, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe-the Japanese government are determined to experience an earthquake-volcano-nuclear disaster mix. No wonder that rumors surface now and again that Abe is a member of a death cult. Abe’s maternal grandfather is considered to have been a war criminal by many: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobusuke_Kishi Easy to wonder if Abe has a Nuclear-kaze thing going.

Even the pro-nuclear IAEA “Volcanic Hazards in Site Evaluation for Nuclear Installations for protecting people and the environment, No. SSG-21 Specific Safety” warns that “volcanic events can present significant hazards for nuclear installations.” (p. 7) and on pp. 8-9, Table 1, give volcanic phenomena-characteristics which would affect nuclear installations and most of which preclude the siting of a nuclear reactor. http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1552_web.pdf

In Japan, local governments are responsible for the safety of residents in the event of a nuclear accident and nuclear power stations, like Sendai, are often in isolated coastal areas with few roads and where residents are elderly and would have difficulty evacuating without help. A member of the local assembly at Satsumasendai says that the evacuation plans are unrealistic because they assume the main road closest to the nuclear power station will be usable if there is a nuclear accident and do not address how long it will take to evacuate the elderly. See “Reactor in Kagoshima poised for restart despite public opposition“, by Eric Johnston, Japan Times: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/08/10/national/reactor-kagoshima-readied-tuesday-restart/

Japan PM Abe’s support slips, majority oppose nuclear restart
Posted:Mon, 10 Aug 2015 00:01:17 -0400
TOKYO, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has slipped to just over 30 percent and a majority oppose the planned restart of a nuclear reactor that went offline after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, a poll by the Mainichi newspaper showed on Monday.

Japan to restart reactor in test of Abe’s nuclear policy
Posted:Mon, 10 Aug 2015 05:58:58 -0400
TOKYO/SATSUMASENDAI, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Japan is due to switch on a nuclear reactor for the first time in nearly two years on Tuesday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to reassure a nervous public that tougher standards mean the sector is now safe after the Fukushima disaster in 2011. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/utilitiesNews/~3/mldoTAjAIxI/japan-nuclear-restarts-idUSL3N10L22B20150810

What is the world awaiting before understanding that Japan is no place for nuclear reactors? A volcanic nuclear disaster to go with Fukushima? The situation is critical.

Although Sakurajima’s activity since 1955 has been characterized by frequent small eruptions, the volcano still poses a danger to the densely-populated surroundings. Roughly 7,000 years ago Sakurajima erupted with a volcanic explosivity index (VEI) of 6, equivalent to the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo“. (Emphasis added) http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=45388&eocn=image&eoci=morenh

Sakurajima is classified as a “Decade Volcano”, one of 17 volcanoes, worldwide, “identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) as being worthy of particular study in light of their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas“. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decade_Volcano
Sakurajima by Krypton, CC-BY-SA-3.0 Sakurajima, 3 October 2009, Photo by Krypton, CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikipedia

UPDATE 1-Japan court approves restart of reactors in boost for Abe’s nuclear policy
Posted:Tue, 21 Apr 2015 21:57:59 -0400
* Court approves restart of Kyushu Electric’s Sendai power station

Is it really wise to have a nuclear power plant about 60 km (37 miles) or less BY AIR from this volcano? No, it can only be done by homicidal maniacs.

According to Greenpeace:
Back to the future with Japan’s nuclear village by Kazue Suzuki, 16 July, 2014

The decision of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) to approve the draft assessment for the two Sendai nuclear reactors in Kyushu is a clear and dangerous signal that Japan’s nuclear village – industry, regulators and government – is deliberately and cynically ignoring the lessons of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The approval of the assessment is the first step in restarting the Sendai reactors.

The two Sendai reactors have been shutdown since 2011. These are old reactors – 29 and 30 years respectively. Nuclear reactors, no matter what age, are inherently at risk of an accident, but the older the plant the greater the risk. A car designed four decades ago and operating for 30 years in no way can meet safety standards of the present day. Fukushima has shown again that nuclear reactors have the potential to devastate a region and its people.

The citizens of Japan know that the Sendai reactors are not safe to operate. When the NRA announced it was putting the reactors at the top of the list for review, 6000 people demonstrated in Kagoshima near the plant. According to an opinion poll by Greenpeace Japan, less than 10% of the people living within a 30km radius of the Sendai nuclear power plant think they can evacuate without being exposed to radiation if a severe nuclear accident were to occur.

Last week, Aira city councillors voted 23 to 1 against restarting the Sendai reactors. Aira, in Kagoshima Prefecture, lies only 30km from the Sendai nuclear reactors, and is a designated evacuation point in the event of a severe accident.

The regulators have accepted the view of Kyushu Electric Power Company, the Sendai operator, that the seismic and tsunami risks are low at the site. This is despite a warning from independent seismologists that the science of earthquakes is such that it is not possible to predict where an event will happen and its strength. No tsunami sea wall has been built at the Sendai plant.

The major issues of concern at Sendai include: no effective evacuation plan for the populations in the region, no functioning emergency response centre protected against radiation, and the failure of Kyushu Electric and the NRA to conduct robust assessments on volcano risk.

Like many nuclear plants in Japan, Sendai is close to an active volcano – in this case, Sakurajima, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and one of the few that are at present in constant (persistent) activity. This volcano is about 70km from the Sendai nuclear plant. Ongoing, typical activity ranges from strong strombolian (low-level eruptions) to large ash explosions every 4-24 hours.

The Sakurajima volcano is of major concern to many experts, including vulcanologists, with the threat that in the event of an eruption, it could take out offsite electric power to the plant. The same eruption could clog the air intakes of diesel generators, the only source of ongoing power if the offsite power is taken out of service. A station blackout was what led to the loss of cooling function at Fukushima and the subsequent reactor meltdowns.

The nuclear village in Japan was one of the principal reasons why the Fukushima accident took place. While the Abe administration and nuclear industry may prefer to forget the lessons of 2011 the people of Japan will not. They are determined to stop the planned restart of Japan’s nuclear reactors.

As we approach the one year birthday of no nuclear-powered electricity in Japan (the last of the country’s remaining 48 reactors were shutdown in September 2013) it is clear that Japan can function as a society without risking catastrophic nuclear accidents, while rapidly growing its renewable energy sector and embracing efficiency. The NRA decision may make headlines around the world but Japan is a long long way from restarting its large nuclear program – and the people of Japan are determined to make its future energy path a very different one from its past. Kazue Suzuki is a Nuclear and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Japan.http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/high/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/back-to-the-future-with-japans-nuclear-villag/blog/49931/ (Emphasis our own)