— Former Prime Minister of Japan tells Gov. Newsom: Shut down Diablo Canyon ASAP

Mothers for Peace SLO

Former Prime Minister of Japan Sounds the Alarm on Diablo Canyon
Naoto Kan Advises Governor Newsom to Close Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant ASAP

May 2022 – Naoto Kan was Prime Minister of Japan when the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster began. Hearing that California Governor Gavin Newsom is considering extending the operation of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant beyond its current license period, Kan felt compelled to contact the Governor, advising him to shut down the nuclear plant as soon as possible.

As a result of Naoto Kan’s experiences managing the triple meltdown catastrophe, he has become vocally anti-nuclear. As he explains in his memoir, My Nuclear Nightmare, “I came to understand that a nuclear accident carried with it a risk so large that it could lead to the collapse of a country.

“Eleven years on, the nuclear disaster in Japan is on-going. The government is set to release millions of gallons of irradiated water into the Pacific Ocean as early as next spring – angering citizens and governments worldwide.

Both Japan and California are seismically active and share coastlines with the Pacific Ocean. Fukushima Prefecture and San Luis Obispo County have many similarities, both communities relying heavily on agriculture, fishing, and tourism. Naoto Kan has a deep understanding of these shared risks and vulnerabilities. Thus, he is sounding the alarm on Diablo Canyon.

Carole Hisasue, Spokesperson for San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, states, “As history has clearly illustrated, nuclear accidents affect the entire world. We will all be safer when Diablo Canyon nuclear plant ceases operation.”

Full text of Naoto Kan’s letter to Governor Newsom:

May 12, 2022

Dear Governor Newsom,
I have heard that you have been considering extension of operations at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which is set to decommission in a few years. I was the Prime Minister of Japan at the time of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident and based on my experiences dealing with that disaster, I advise you to shut down the nuclear plant as soon as possible.

As you know, three nuclear reactors built along the Pacific Coast in Fukushima melted down after the Great Northeastern Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011 and released an enormous amount of radiation.

Until this accident occurred, I never thought a nuclear event in which there would be a meltdown such as this could happen. And yet, in reality, the earthquake cut off external power, the emergency diesel generators were damaged by the tsunami and stopped. All power to control the nuclear plant was lost, three reactors could no longer be cooled and that led to the unthinkable meltdown. An incredible amount of radiation was released and even now, 11 years since then, many of the former residents of the areas around the nuclear plant are still in evacuation.

From my perspective, as someone who has personally experienced this accident, I believe that all nuclear power plants should be decommissioned as soon as possible and that we should move toward renewable energy, such as solar and wind, for all our power needs. This is why I am writing to you today.

I have enclosed the English version of a book I wrote about the Fukushima accident. I hope you can find the time to read it.

Naoto Kan 94th Prime Minister of Japan

Here is Naoto Kan’s letter in Japanese:

カルフォルニア州知事 キャビン・ニューソム 様
私は2011年、福島原発事故が発生した際に、日本の総理大臣を務め ていた菅直人と申します。現在カルフォルニア州で数年後に廃炉予定 のディアブロキャニオン原発について運転延長が検討されていると お聞きしました。私の福島原発事故を経験した立場から、原発はでき るだけ早く停止されることをお勧めします。
ご存じのように日本において2011年3月11日に発生した東日本大 震災と津波によって、福島県の太平洋沿岸に建設されていた3基の原 子炉がメルトダウンを起こし、大量の放射能を放出しました。
私自身この事故が発生するまではメルトダウンするような原発事 故は起こらないと考えていました。しかし実際には地震によって外部 電源が途絶し、さらに緊急用のディーゼル発電機が津波をかぶって停 止しました。そのため原発をコントロールする全電源が喪失し、3基 の原子炉は冷却できなくなりメルトダウンを起こしたのです。多くの 放射能が放出し、事故から11年経過した現在でも原発の近隣からは多 くの住民が避難しています。
事故を経験した私としては、できるだけ早いうちにすべての原発は 廃炉すべきであり、太陽光や風力発電によって必要な電力すべてを発 電する方向に向かうべきと考えています。そのことをお伝えしたくて 手紙をお書きしました。なお事故について私自身が書いた本の英訳本 を同封します。お読みいただければ幸いです。
2022年5月
日本国第94代総理大臣 菅 直人

https://mothersforpeace.org/former-prime-minister-of-japan-sounds-the-alarm-on-diablo-canyon-2/

— Naoto Kan: My Nuclear Nightmare – Leading Japan Through the Fukushima Disaster to a Nuclear Free Future

My Nuclear Nightmare Leading Japan Through the Fukushima Disaster to a Nuclear Free Future

by Naoto Kan, Jeffrey S Irish

Synopsis

“Naoto Kan, who was prime minister of Japan when the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster began, has become a ubiquitous and compelling voice for the global antinuclear movement. Kan compared the potential worst-case devastation that could be caused by a nuclear power plant meltdown as tantamount only to ‘a great world war. Nothing else has the same impact.’ Japan escaped such a dire fate during the Fukushima disaster, said Kan, only due to luck. Even so, Kan had to make some steely-nerved decisions that necessitated putting all emotion aside. In a now famous phone call from Tepco, when the company asked to pull all their personnel from the out-of-control Fukushima site for their own safety, Kan told them no. The workforce must stay. The few would need to make the sacrifice to save the many. Kan knew that abandoning the Fukushima Daiichi site would cause radiation levels in the surrounding environment to soar. His insistence that the Tepco workforce remain at Fukushima was perhaps one of the most unsung moments of heroism in the whole sorry saga.” The Ecologist


On March 11, 2011, a massive undersea earthquake off Japan s coast triggered devastating tsunami waves that in turn caused meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Ranked with Chernobyl as the worst nuclear disaster in history, Fukushima will have lasting consequences for generations. Until 3.11, Japan s Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, had supported the use of nuclear power. His position would undergo a radical change, however, as Kan watched the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Power Plant unfold and came to understand the potential for the physical, economic, and political destruction of Japan.

In My Nuclear Nightmare, Kan offers a fascinating day-by-day account of his actions in the harrowing week after the earthquake struck. He records the anguished decisions he had to make as the scale of destruction became clear and the threat of nuclear catastrophe loomed ever larger decisions made on the basis of information that was often unreliable. For example, frustrated by the lack of clarity from the executives at Tepco, the company that owned the power plant, Kan decided to visit Fukushima himself, despite the risks, so he could talk to the plant s manager and find out what was really happening on the ground. As he details, a combination of extremely good fortune and hard work just barely prevented a total meltdown of all of Fukushima s reactor units, which would have necessitated the evacuation of the thirty million residents of the greater Tokyo metropolitan area.

In the book, first published in Japan in 2012, Kan also explains his opposition to nuclear power: I came to understand that a nuclear accident carried with it a risk so large that it could lead to the collapse of a country. When Kan was pressured by the opposition to step down as prime minister in August 2011, he agreed to do so only after legislation had been passed to encourage investments in alternative energy. As both a document of crisis management during an almost unimaginable disaster and a cogent argument about the dangers of nuclear power, My Nuclear Nightmare is essential reading.

Cornell University Press

EAN/UPC 9781501705816

Order through

Powells Bookstore
https://www.powells.com/book/my-nuclear-nightmare-leading-japan-through-the-fukushima-disaster-to-a-nuclear-free-future-9781501705816

Bookshop Santa Cruz
https://www.bookshopsantacruz.com/

or your nearest independent bookstore