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The Fukushima Daiichi Disaster: Ongoing Lessons for California via Friends of the Earth

Former Japanese Prime Minister Naota Kan warned today that restarting the damaged San Onofre nuclear reactor is driven by the same industrial and regulatory forces in the United States that are seeking the restart of Japanese nuclear reactors. He told a nuclear safety seminar that the worst-case nuclear accident at Fukushima-daiichi would have required evacuating a 190-mile radius from from the disaster, an area in which 50 million people live, threatening the entire future of his nation.

The major safety risks of restarting the San Onofre nuclear reactor located between Los Angeles and San Diego was put in the context of the devastating accident at Fukushima during an international seminar held at the San Diego County Government offices today.

Guest of Honour, former Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, described in detail the March 2011 accident at Fukushima-daiichi, the consequences of the earthquake and tsunami that led to the meltdown of three reactors, the threat from the hundreds of tons of high level nuclear waste spent fuel at the site, and the ongoing challenge to control the hazards at the site today.

Also speaking at the seminar is former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair, Gregory Jaczko; Friends of the Earth consulting nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen; former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford, and Friends of the Earth nuclear campaigner Kendra Ulrich.

Gundersen presented evidence (see his presentation here) that operating the San Onofre nuclear reactor’s could devastate a wide area across Southern California comparable to the impact of the Fukushima accident on Japan, threatening contamination of Los Angeles and San Diego. Within 50 miles radius of the San Onofre site live 8.7 million people, with many millions more living within an area that would be contaminated if there were to be a major nuclear accident.

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