Tokyo Electric Power Co., Associated Press
TOKYO — Japan needs to overhaul its nuclear policies and may never be safe for atomic power because it is too prone to earthquakes, a leading seismologist and former government nuclear safety adviser said Thursday.
Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a professor emeritus at Kobe University, said virtually all facilities around the country are in danger of the same kind of crisis faced by the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
"It is very difficult to find a safe plant in Japan," said Ishibashi, who is also a former member of the government's nuclear safety committee.
Japan is one of the world's most seismically active countries. Ishibashi said that makes pursuing an aggressive nuclear power strategy more dangerous than in Europe or on the East Coast of the United States.
"From the viewpoint of seismology, all nuclear plants in Japan are in danger of earthquakes," he said at a news conference at The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. He added that from an "economic and engineering perspective" it is difficult to strengthen them.
Ishibashi called for a new review of Japanese nuclear power plants. He has warned about the seismological risks of nuclear energy previously, but Thursday's comments came amid growing opposition to nuclear power in Japan, which depends on nuclear for about one-third of its electric power.
Earlier this month, anti-nuclear protesters held demonstrations across Japan to mark the three-month anniversary of the March 11 disaster. Some called for the country's nuclear plants to be shut down immediately.
Japan's nuclear vulnerability was revealed when the magnitude-9 earthquake hit off Japan's northeast coast, causing a huge massive tsunami that knocked out power and cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.
The ongoing crisis in Fukushima, which could takes months or years to resolve, has already impacted Japan's energy policy.
Japan had planned to raise its reliance on nuclear to 50 percent by 2030, but the government has announced it will abandon that target and promote renewable energy instead. The government is also conducting a broad review of the Fukushima disaster and its safety measures.
- Better than a raise: The smallest thing you...
- Many Mormon missionaries who return home...
- WestJet airline video goes viral as Santa...
- Adjunct professors unionize for respect and...
- Little difference between PG-13 and R-rated...
- Looking beyond the premium is a 2-tiered...
- Sexual harassment? Colorado school suspends...
- 50 things you might not know about 15 of your...
- Many Mormon missionaries who return... 133
- Judge orders Colo. cake-maker to serve... 123
- Health care debate about presidential... 24
- Space and religion: How believers view... 24
- Can Mandela's legacy revive the GOP? 24
- Health care signups increase to... 16
- Looking beyond the premium is a... 16
- India's Supreme Court upholds anti-gay... 12