Former Prime Minister of Japan Sounds the Alarm on Diablo Canyon

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From MothersForpeace.org in San Luis Obispo, CA — 5/17/2022

Former Prime Minister of Japan Sounds the Alarm on Diablo Canyon

Naoto Kan Advises Governor Newsom

to Close Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant ASAP


San Luis Obispo, CA, May 2020 – 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.

Fukushima aftermath

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


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