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Chubu Electric Power Co. should shut down its Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant. Its security standards no longer hold water, and I want Japan to become a country that can steadily overcome anticipated crises. This is the conclusion I reached after speaking with government officials in Tokyo following a brief tour of the Sanriku and Fukushima districts.
The Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant is located in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture. The dangers associated with the plant are common knowledge among nuclear power plant opponents. Two of the three reactors in operation are boiling-water reactors -- the same type as those at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. But the real point of concern is the fact that they sit right above the spot where a massive Tokai region earthquake is predicted to strike.
Katsuhiko Ishibashi, 66, an emeritus professor at Kobe University who coined the phrase "genpatsu shinsai," which describes a combined earthquake and nuclear power plant disaster, has previously pointed out the plant's precarious standing. In the May 2011 editions of the monthly magazines "Sekai" and "Chuokoron," he warned there would be severe consequences if a major earthquake were to strike the Hamaoka plant.
"In a worst-case scenario ... a radiation cloud would drift over the Tokyo metropolitan area, and over 10 million people would have to evacuate. Japan would lose its capital." "The U.S. military bases at Yokota, Yokosuka, Atsugi and Zama would not be able to function, producing a large global military imbalance," he reportedly told the magazines.
In the wake of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Chubu Electric Power Co. announced that it would delay the construction of new reactors at the Hamaoka plant, but the reactors now in operation have been kept running. The power company, which worries about the cost of securing an alternative source of power, does not consider stopping the reactors an option.