First quarter of 2001
admits referendum could kill MOX program
WISE-Paris, 29 January 2001
Green Action, Press release, 25 January 2001
A Japanese electric utility, in an unprecedented
move, announced that it would respect the outcome of a local referendum
over its MOX program. "In the referendum, if the number against
the Pluthermal Program [the MOX program] is in majority, we cannot
implement it", stated Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) President
Naoya Minami, at a press conference in Kariwa, Japan, on 23 January
2001, according to the Kyoto based environmental group Green Action.
The head of Japans largest utility declared that no MOX fuel would
be used in its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa-3 reactor if more than half of the
population in Kariwa voted against MOX use program. Meanwhile, the 32
MOX assemblies delivered to TEPCO in September 1999 by Belgonucleaire
are still unused, waiting for the judgement of the lawsuit filed by
Greenpeace Japan, the Tokyo based Citizens Nuclear Information
Center (CNIC), Tokyo Electric Citizens Group and 2000 citizens, over
suspicious quality-control procedures in the Belgian MOX plant. (see
also "Belgonucleaire hit
by quality-control default suspicion").
The following is press release published by Green
Action on 25 January 2001:
TEL: 075-701-7223 - FAX: 075-702-1952
Suite 103, 22-75 Tanaka Sekiden-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8203JAPAN
TEL: +81-75-701-7223 - FAX: +81-75-702-1952 - Email: email@example.com
Fate of MOX Fuel On Board "Pacific Pintail"
en Route to Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Uncertain
TOKYO ELECTRIC PRESIDENT SUGGESTS CANCELLATION OF MOX PROGRAM IF KARIWA
CITIZENS VOTE IT DOWN IN REFERENDUM
GREEN ACTION CALLS ON MOX SHIPMENT TO RETURN TO EUROPE
immediate release: 25 January 2001
more information contact: Stephen Ready, or Aileen Mioko Smith +81-90-3620-9251
Japan — At a press conference in the village of Kariwa, Niigata Prefecture
on 23 January, Tokyo Electric President Naoya Minami suggested that
the company would cancel MOX (plutonium uranium mixed oxide) fuel use
in the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Unit 3 reactor if more than half of the population
in Kariwa votes against the MOX use program in a referendum. (The program
is called "Pluthermal" in Japan.) Minami stated "in the
referendum, if the number against the Pluthermal Program is in the majority,
we can not implement it." His comments were welcomed by anti-MOX
activists in Kariwa and all over Japan.
9 January citizens and legislators of Kariwa announced plans to collect
signatures from the public to try to force a referendum on the implementation
of the Pluthermal Program. According to Japanese law, the group has
one month to collect signatures from the residents of the village. Starting
on 4 February, if they receive signatures of over 1/20th
of the population by 4 March a motion requesting a referendum will be
put to a vote by the village legislature. If passed, Kariwa citizens
will be voting for or against the use of MOX fuel at Tokyo Electrics
Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant. The vote would be expected to
take place in May.
the village assembly of Kariwa initially voted 9-8 in favor of a motion
to hold such a referendum last December, this attempt failed when mayor
Shinada of Kariwa called such a referendum "inappropriate",
and ordered the village assembly to redeliberate the measure on 2 January
2001. The measure failed to garner two-thirds majority necessary to
over-ride the mayors veto. In the second referendum attempt, taking
place in February, signatures will be collected directly from the electorate.
Supporters of the petition hope to gather enough eligible signatures
to convince the mayor the referendum must go forward.
15 January, Tokyo Electric responded to the referendum signature drive
by announcing a door-to-door visit of all households in the village.
At the same time the company announced plans to ship the 28 MOX fuel
assemblies fabricated for the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant at Belgonucleaire
from Europe to Japan. Mondays statement by Minami comes just days
after the MOX fuel assemblies departed Cherbourg, France on 19 January
on board the "Pacific Pintail". The two-armed vessels, the
"Pacific Pintail" and its escort vessel the "Pacific
Teal" are now headed south in a route that is scheduled to round
the Cape of Good Hope, sailing east, through the Tasman Sea, and north
to Japan through the South Pacific. The vessel is scheduled to arrive
in Japan in mid-March.
in Fukushima Prefecture the judge in the case to seek an injunction
on the use of 32 MOX fuel assemblies delivered to Tokyo Electric from
Belgonucleaire in September 1999, called on Tokyo Electric to provide
the court with further information about the state of quality control
at Belgonucleaire and answer plaintiff allegations (made in a submission
by Dr. Hideyuki Koyama of Osaka Prefecture University) concerning serious
irregularities in the fuels quality control data.
In response to the statement made
by President Minami at yesterdays press conference, Stephen Ready
of Green Action stated, "It is clear that the utilities have had
reservations about the Pluthermal Program even before the BNFL quality
control data falsification scandal occurred in December 1999. MOX fuel
is several times more expensive than conventional uranium oxide fuel,
and reactor safety margins are reduced when MOX is loaded into a reactor.
Minamis statement clearly indicates that Tokyo Electric is no
longer interested in promoting this dangerous program against the will
of the people. Green Action calls on the company to immediately
turn the MOX shipment around, return to France, and cancel all future
plans to fabricate, ship, and use MOX fuel."