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Japanese authorities must be honest about nuclear danger


14 Mar 2011



The only secure future is to organize the phasing out from nuclear energy

The European Green Party is deeply alarmed after learning of a second explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site, in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami which shook Japan last friday. The explosion took place at reactor 3, just days after a blast hit reactor 1, and is believed to have been caused by a partial meltdown following the earlier explosion.

Monica FRASSONI, spokesperson for the EGP, said "there are no "secure" nuclear plants, but full transparency and information to the people concerned and to the world is absolutely needed: the priority is to limit as far as possible the consequences of these tragic events. All necessary precautions must be taken in order to protect those at risk from radiation"

Frassoni added that, “it is clear that these events only strengthen our determination to quickly phase out from this dangerous, costly and dirty energy source. We have alternatives and now governments should listen more to reality than to manipulative industry lobbies. In several European countries the nuclear industry marked some important points in terms of prolongation of the life of old plants and in Italy there will be in June a referendum on the government plans to come back to nuclear energy. So this is the time to reopen the discussion on such dangerous and short sighted decisions.”

Transparency and information must urgently be provided to those at risk

Despite statements from the Japanese authorities playing down the risks and the magnitude of the crisis, the situation at Fukushima continues to be a race against time. Technicians have been battling to cool reactors at the plant and the fight to contain a dramatic nuclear disaster is far from won. The breakdown of cooling systems has shown that the situation is clearly not under control. Radiation apparently continues to be released into the atmosphere with 22 people confirmed contaminated and undergoing treatment for exposure.

It was announced yesterday that more than 170,000 people have been evacuated from the area around two nuclear power plants in Fukushima as a precaution.Yet given the lack of information and transparency it remains unclear whether these precautions are sufficient.

Experts from the US detected low-level radiation 160km offshore, a source of great concern for neighbouring territories and the pacific region as a whole. The lack of information to the population and to the wider region means that many are left unsure of the full gravity of the situation and the risks they face, and are thus unable to take adequate precautions.

The instability of the current situation means that Japan is at risk of seeing a massive release of radiation. Although the Japanese plants have rigorous safety measures in place, these safeguards can never be 100% reliable and thus the risk is always present.

Pressing need for assessment of all nuclear facilities in Europe

In Europe, Daniel COHN-BENDIT, Co-President of the Greens-EFA Group in the European Parliament, called for a wide and transparent debate to be opened and for a referendum on an exit strategy from nuclear energy dependance. 60,000 people took to the streets in Germany on Saturday to voice their opposition to, and concerns about, the proliferation of nuclear energy. In Austria there have been calls for a series of nuclear 'stress tests' to ensure the safety of European plants.

Nuclear experts from EU member states will gather in Brussels this week to discuss the situation in Japan and the potential ramifications for Europe. The European Greens call on those present to seriously consider the risks to nuclear power plants also here in Europe.

European Greens call on governments in member states and the EU to mobilise all possible assistance to help the worst-affected areas to rebuild and recover. We express our deepest solidarity to those re-building their homes and lives, and our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the total number of which is estimated to reach around the tens of thousands.

The European Greens express their fervent wish that those who have survived this terrible natural catastrophe will not have to suffer further with the effects of a nuclear disaster. We call for urgent steps to be taken, in the context of the rescue efforts, to protect the population of Japan and the region against any possible radiation.



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