Quake experts warn that nuclear restart is unsafe

7 years ago by in Featured, Japan

The decision of restarting two of Japan’s nuclear reactors is risky because it does not take into account active fault lines near the Ohi plant, two prominent seismologists warned.

Japan is ignoring the safety lessons of last year’s accident at Fukushima, they said.

The two reactors at the Kansai Electric Power Ohi plant are the first to be brought back online since last year’s natural disasters and the complete nuclear shutdown that followed for safety reasons.

“The stress tests and new safety guidelines for restarting nuclear power plants both allow for accidents at plants to occur,” said seismologist Katsuhiko Ishibashi, from Kobe University. “Instead of making standards more strict, they both represent a severe setback in safety standards.”

Ishibashi warned in 2007, after a quake caused a leak at reactors north of Tokyo, that Japan is at risk of a nuclear disaster in the event of a powerful earthquake.

Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a tectonic geomorphology professor at Tokyo University, said that the seismic threat has been underestimated by the authorities who took the decision of restarting the two reactors.

“The expertise and neutrality of experts advising Japan’s Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency are highly questionable,” Watanabe said.