Fukushima briefing paper released

Friends of the Earth is today releasing a briefing paper on the Fukushima nuclear disaster as the one-year anniversary (March 11) approaches.

Dr Jim Green, author of the paper and national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said: "The report concludes that the Japanese nuclear industry is run by a clique of public- and private-sector interests that have promoted personal and corporate gain at the expense of public safety.

"The industry has been plagued by safety breaches, scandals, cover-ups, inadequate regulation and a myriad of other problems over a long period of time. Managerial and regulatory failures have contributed to numerous accidents.

"TEPCO (operator of the Fukushima plant) did not adequately protect against earthquake and tsunami risks, nor was it forced to by the government regulator. In particular, TEPCO's failure to properly protect back-up generators was inexcusable − as the Japanese government's Investigation Committee has concluded − and it was the direct cause of the disaster.

"Primary responsibility for the disaster lies with TEPCO. Others are culpable including Japanese government agencies and regulators, and overseas suppliers − including uranium mining companies operating in Australia − who have turned a blind eye to serious problems in Japan's nuclear industry over a long period of time."

An appendix to the paper details the 'spinning' of the Fukushima disaster by nuclear power advocates such as Ziggy Switkowski and Adelaide University's Prof. Barry Brook. "Dr Switkowski tirelessly promotes the message that lessons will be learnt and improvements made after the Fukushima disaster," Dr Green said. "But if the nuclear industry learnt from its mistakes the Fukushima disaster would not have happened in the first place."

The report is available here.

Contact: Jim Green   0417 318 368   jim.green@foe.org.au