UK | Japan launches PR drive for nuclear power

Posted on June 27, 2011


UK | TELEGRAPH |  27 Jun 2011

The PR drive came as 15 people were confirmed to have suffered internal radiation exposure.

The new campaign is targeting local government leaders who are currently blocking nuclear power generation in their communities following the atomic crisis in Fukushima.

Central government officials held the campaign’s first meeting in Saga prefecture, where two reactors at the Genkai power plant were among several across the country halted for safety checks in the aftermath of March 11.

Local officials in the region have since cited concerns surrounding safety standards at the plant as a reason for subsequently withholding routine consent for operations to resume.

Their stance reflects the growing anti-nuclear mood spreading across Japan as a result of the ongoing crisis at Fukushima power plant which was triggered when the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out its crucial cooling systems.

Nuclear power currently accounts for around a third of Japan’s overall energy supply however a growing number of households and corporations are now increasingly interested in exploring alternative energy sources.

Hatsumi Ishimaru, 59, one of dozens of anti-nuclear protesters standing outside the meeting in Saga said: “This is a programme designed to lead to an approval for the resumption of operations of the Genkai reactors. We cannot accept that.”

The campaign to sway the current anti-nuclear national sentiment was unlikely to be helped by yesterday’s confirmation that internal radiation exposure had been detected in 15 people living in the Fukushima region.

Radiation experts surveyed 15 people residing in the towns Iitate and Kawamata, which are both around 25 miles from the Fukushima nuclear power plant just outside the official exclusion zone.

The results confirmed that all fifteen people tested — aged between four and 77 – were found to have radioactive caesium present in two sets of urine samples.

Further traces of radioactive iodine were found in the first urine tests of six of the people tested, but not in subsequent samples.

Nanao Kamada, from the Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine of Hiroshima University, who led the survey, told Kyodo News: “There is no cause for concern unless the residents continuing eating contaminated food such as vegetables, but it may be hard to continue living in the areas.”

The findings of the tests came to light following a weekend of protests in Fukushima, as hundreds of parents took to the streets to demand protection for their children as the nuclear crisis remains unresolved.

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