[Marxism] As Fukushima Worsens, US Approves New Nukes

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Mar 31 10:56:45 MDT 2012

On 3/31/12 12:41 PM, DW wrote:
> Kan is well known as opposing Japan's nuclear direction well before
> Fukushima. Representing that wing of the ruling class most tied to
> continued, and increased, fossil fuel production.

NY Times May 8, 2011
Japan Reaffirms Nuclear Energy Use

TOKYO — Japan remains committed to nuclear power despite the crisis at 
the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, Prime Minister Naoto Kan 
indicated Sunday, as workers moved closer to repairing the crippled 
plant by opening the doors of a damaged reactor building.

The move is intended to air out the building that houses Reactor No. 1 
to ensure that radiation levels are low enough to allow workers to 
enter. The plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, said the 
procedure would release little radiation into the atmosphere because an 
air filtering system installed last week had already removed most of the 
dangerous particles.

Eight hours after the doors were opened, workers entered the building to 
test radiation levels. The next step is to begin replacing the reactor’s 
cooling system, which was destroyed by the tsunami on March 11.

The company has said it will take at least six months to stabilize the 
plant, in which three of the six reactors were damaged by a 
magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami. Hydrogen explosions spewed 
radiation into the atmosphere, causing the worst nuclear disaster since 
the 1986 Chernobyl accident in Ukraine.

Despite the crisis in Japan, Mr. Kan indicated Sunday that his 
government was not rethinking the nation’s energy policy. There had been 
speculation that the government might seek to shut down more nuclear 
plants after Mr. Kan requested last week that the Hamaoka nuclear plant 
in central Japan be temporarily closed because of safety concerns.

Mr. Kan told reporters on Sunday that he would not seek to close any 
more of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors. He said the Hamaoka plant, 125 
miles west of Tokyo, was “a special case” because it sat atop a major 
fault line. Government seismologists say there is an almost 90 percent 
chance of a major earthquake on the fault line within the next 30 years.

Critics have long warned of a possible accident at the Hamaoka plant, 
which is upwind of Tokyo. Mr. Kan asked that the plant be closed until a 
tsunami-resistant wall could be built and backup systems could be 
installed to strengthen the plant against earthquakes.

The Hamaoka plant’s operator, the Chubu Electric Power Company, is 
expected to accept the prime minister’s request. The company’s board is 
scheduled to meet Monday to consider the request. It did not reach a 
decision at a meeting on Saturday, when some board members expressed 
concern about summer power shortages if the plant were shut down.

The utility company supplies power to central Japan, including Aichi 
Prefecture, the home of Toyota. In Tokyo, residents face the prospect of 
electricity shortages because of the loss of the power supplied by 
Fukushima Daiichi and other plants in earthquake-damaged northern Japan.

Despite the setbacks, Yoshito Sengoku, the deputy chief cabinet 
secretary, said Japan was not reconsidering its dependence on nuclear 
power, which supplies about a quarter of the nation’s electricity.

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