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。
日本国第94代総理大臣 菅 直人