Sense of Crisis – Possible Catastrophe in Metropolis
Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, stepped down his position as of September 2, 2011, accepted the exclusive interview offer from Tokyo Shinbun and talked about the anxiously he had felt while series of hydrogen explosion happening at TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Energy Plant. “This accident may cause serious disaster to make Metropolitan area dead zone” – He disclosed that he felt this sense of crisis. He’s changed his mind and determined to shift “Stop relying on nuclear energy power” since Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Energy Plant accident, as he used to be very confident about Japanese nuclear technology.
He explained the reason why he went to TEPCO headquarters on March 15, 2011, 4 days after the accident, was the words from Former Minister of METI Banri Kaieda around 3pm on the same day, who disclosed TEPCO was planning to abandon Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Energy Plant. He felt “If TEPCO abandons Fukushima Daiichi and Daini Nuclear Energy Plant, 10 nuclear reactors and 11 nuclear fuel storage pools, nuclear reactors and nuclear fuel storage pools would be empty and rapidly melt down. ” , then he ordered to set up the Integrated Headquarters Measures of TEPCO and government at TEPCO headquarters.
“If TEPCO had abandoned Fukushima Nuclear Energy Plant, there would have been nobody in Tokyo. It was the most critical moment for Japan as a country to keep surviving as it is. The amount of radiation leakage could have been more than several score times than Chelnobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident.” , Kan explained and this experience changed his old idea of being confidence in Japanese nuclear technology into the new idea to aim not to rely on nuclear power plant energy society.
The reason why he requested CEPCO to stop Hamaoka Nuclear Energy Plant was based on the research result of big possibility of Tokai earthquake, which would completely cut off the route between Tokyo and Osaka, that would result in huge damage on Japanese economy and society.
Kan said “NISA was trying to restart the nuclear reactor following the old procedure without my knowledge. I didn’t think it was possible to get an approval from Japanese nation.” , and criticized METI’s correspondence. This is the reason why he installed the new safety standard procedure just before the restart of KEPCO Genkai Nuclear Energy Plant. About renewable energy, such as solar power, “Although there are possibilities to start shifting to those renewable energy, electric utility industry and METI have kept rejecting those since 30 years ago. I would like do my best to get over this difficulty.”, Kan said.
Regarding restarting Fast Breeding Reactor Monju and recycling nuclear fuel, Kan said “It’s almost impossible with our current technology. It has to be fully reviewed whether to keep it or not. ”
Many thanks to Ob_Li for providing the translation to English
Asahi Shimbun has just released an expanded version of the interview in English
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