Category Archives: Energy

Anti-Nuclear Rally, Maruyama Park, Kyoto – Saturday March 9th 2013

The only Japanese nuclear power station to have been restarted since the nuclear disaster of March 2011 is the one at Oi in Fukui, just 60km from Kyoto and only 30km from our drinking water supply, Lake Biwa. (Stephen Gill)

Bye Bye Genpatsu - 2013.3.9 Maruyama Park, Kyoto

There will be a big anti-nuclear rally at Maruyama Park this Saturday (March 9th). As usual with these events it looks very much like it will have a festival feel. People will gather for speeches, performances etc from 12. The main rally is at 1.30 and the march commences at 14.45. Details (Japanese only) at this site:

Thanks to Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action Japan for sharing this news.

Of related interest are these recent articles from Fresh Currents writers Winifred Bird and David McNeil.

Winifred Bird, has recently published two new articles with her colleague Jane Braxton Little on the contaminated forests of Chernobyl and Fukushima. They give a good overview of the likely long-term effects on both ecosystems and the dilemma that local authorities face in how best to manage them. LINK

David McNeil has an excellent interview in the Independent with one of the “Fukushima 50”:

They displayed a bravery few can comprehend, yet very little is known about the men who stayed behind to save Japan’s stricken nuclear plant. In a rare interview, David McNeill meets Atsufumi Yoshizawa, who was at work on 11 March 2011 when disaster struck. LINK

UPDATE (7th March): Stephen Gill informs me that there is a further event on Monday March 11th – the anniversary of the disaster. Demonstrators will gather at the Bic Camera plaza (beside Kyoto station) from 6.30 and march from there at 6.45 twice around the KEPCO offices. So if like me, you can’t make the big event on Saturday, this is your chance to show your solidarity and make some noise.  For an insight into why this issue is still important check out this video: Fukushima: Human Impacts

Fresh Currents Publication Party @ Tadg’s this Sunday (November 11th)

Want to meet the people behind Fresh Currents? Enjoy some tasty craft beers AND have a chat about renewables with the folks from Kyoto Journal?  Publication party at Tadg’s this Sunday from 8pm!

To find Tadg’s walk straight up Kiyamachi from Sanjo, before you get to Oike you should see the Empire building on your right. Tadg’s is on the 8th floor. Click here for a most convenient map.

See also:
The Fresh Currents website:
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& Fresh Currents Daily News:

Lessons from Fukushima – Arnie Gundersen in Kyoto Tomorrow Night!

I posted this on Facebook before, but here’s a last minute reminder that Arnie Gundersen will be speaking at Heartopia in Kyoto tomorrow night (Monday September 3rd). To see the details below more clearly simply click on the flyer below to see the full-sized pdf.

What all involved in nuclear power must learn from the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

Lecture and Q&A in English, with Japanese translation.

Arnie Gundersen has 40-years of nuclear power engineering experience. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) where he earned his Bachelor Degree cum laude while also becoming the recipient of a prestigious Atomic Energy Commission Fellowship for his Master Degree in nuclear engineering.
Arnie holds a nuclear safety patent, was a licensed reactor operator, and is a former nuclear industry senior vice president. During his nuclear power industry career, Arnie also managed and coordinated projects at 70-nuclear power plants in the US. Arnie is the chief engineer for Fairewinds Associates, Inc.

Date & Time: Monday September 3rd: 18:00~20:45 at Heartopia Kyoto
Entry: 500 yen (students: 300 yen)
Children under junior high age free

Directions: Heartopia is just a minute walk from Marutamachi Station on Subway Karasuma Line (which you can take from JR Kyoto Station). From Kyoto station the train will take approximately 7 minutes / is 4 stops. Just go out from Exit #5 of Marutamachi station, and you will be standing just below the building of Heartopia Kyoto. Take the Heartopia Kyoto elevator to the 3rd floor. Here is a map.

This Friday ~ July 20th ~ Join the Growing Protests Against the Nuclear Restarts

July 16th Anti-nuclear protest march, Kyoto ~ this picture from Stephen Gill.

This picture from Andy Couzens

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join in Monday’s anti-nuclear march here in Kyoto, but with all the musicians and drummers and the likes of Christopher Fryman blowing on his trumpet it looks like it must have been fun! Here’s the good word from two friends who were there. Stephen Gill writes,

We need more younger people to come and walk against the restart of nuclear power in Kansai. About 300 showed up in 35 degrees heat this afternoon in front of Kyoto Station to try to keep the light of hope alive here in Kyoto. We marched up Karasuma and along Shichijo and then past the Kansai Power Co. Building – twice in all, chanting and drumming. The issue is not just nuclear power, but power politics and vested interests, and if more Japanese people don’t say what they really think, it could end up making a mockery of democracy.

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Did I mention that there are perks for contributing to the Fresh Currents campaign fund?

There are perks for contributing to the Fresh Currents campaign fund.

For a $10 donation – you get your name on the Fresh Currents website, our undying gratitude & an enormous feeling of wellbeing.

For $25 – all of the above & your name listed in the book + a free digital issue of Kyoto Journal #76 (currently unavailable by any other means!)

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For $100 – all of the above + a free digital edition of Fresh Currents

For $300 – all of the above + a gorgeous etching by the esteemed landscape artist Brian Williams (he’s very good)

Millennial Tree by Brian Williams

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So there you have it! At the time of writing there are just 28 hours remaining in which to claim these goodies, so click here, throw some cash our way and oh yes, help save the planet while you’re at it!

Here’s the link:

See also:
Fresh Currents ~ An Investment in Our Shared Energy Future
Green Action’s Aileen Mioko Smith Confronts METI Minister Yukio Edano
Ohi Nuclear Power Plant ~ Why We Should Be Worried…
PM Noda Defies Massive Public Opposition to OK Restart of Ohi Reactors / Expert Warns of Active Faults Under Ohi Nuclear Plant


Artwork by Tiery Le…

Just two days left on the Fresh Currents appeal and we are still $1880 short of our goal! Can we reach it? Yes! But only with your help! Click here to invest in a renewable energy future:

Why donate? Let’s take a look at some comments from those who have donated so far.

I totally agree with alternative energy! It’s a disgrace that it hasn’t been initiated already.

For a green revoloution and making this planet a Garden Eden for everybody to enjoy.

Kyoto Journal is doing an amazing job. Thanks for being a part of helping Japan, the environment and our fragile planet.

Thank you Kyoto Journal for your work. This is exactly what we need. You give me hope for the future!

Japan should be leading the way in alternative forms of energy.

Amazing job guys!! Inspiring.

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Green Action’s Aileen Mioko Smith Confronts METI Minister Yukio Edano on the Fault Issue at Ohi Nuclear Power Plant

This picture was taken by Kyoto Journal’s John Einarsen at the anti-nuclear demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s office in Tokyo on June 29th. Tens of thousands of protesters called for a reversal of the decision to restart the Ohi reactors.

Here’s the latest update from the anti-nuclear front with Green Action Japan:

1. Government Committee to Deliberate Earthquake Fault (F-6) at Ohi Nuclear Power Plant
2. Green Action Executive Director Meets METI Minister Yukio Edano

On Friday, 29 June, NISA announced that the earthquake fault under the Ohi Plant will be on the agenda of NISA’s Earthquake・Tsunami Expert Advisory Group. This is a breakthrough since it is an admission that this issue must be formally examined. The meeting will take place on Wednesday 3 July (14:00~16:30.) Citizens can have observer status at the meeting. Yuichi Sugiyama, interviewed earlier by Kyodo on this issue, is one of the committee members.

The advisory committee meeting comes a day and a half after Ohi Unit 3 is to be started. Citizens are demanding that an on-site investigation of the F-6 fault be undertaken before restart of Ohi Units 3 and 4. The investigation would only take a maximum of one week.

On 29 June, Green Action director met with METI Minister Yukio Edano when she accompanied Ben Hashimoto (Lower House), one of the five Diet members who took part in the multi-partisan Diet member delegation which inspected the Ohi nuclear power plant on 27 June with tectonic geomorphologist Mitsuhisa Watanabe, Toyo University.

Smith challenged METI minister Edano when he said that no new information has been released concerning the issue. She stated that crucial information on the F-6 fault had been suppressed by NISA and Kansai Electric when the back-check examination of Ohi earthquake faults was undertaken by government-appointed experts in 2010. After this back-check, NISA examined the crucial information (the Sketch of the Nortwest Wall) and issued its report stating that F-6 was not an active fault. It is unclear if any experts were involved in this determination made after the back-check.

Edano’s reply to Smith was, “I am not here to debate this issue with citizens.”

Earlier in the day Edano addressed the Ohi F-6 Fault issue during his regular press conference.

Green Action
Suite 103, 22-75 Tanaka Sekiden-cho
Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8203 Japan
Tel: +81-75-701-7223
Fax: +81-75-702-1952

See also:
Ohi Nuclear Power Plant ~ Why We Should Be Worried…
Fresh Currents ~ Japan’s Flow from a Nuclear Past to a Renewable Future
PM Noda Defies Massive Public Opposition to OK Restart of Ohi Reactors / Expert Warns of Active Faults Under Ohi Nuclear Plant

Ohi Nuclear Power Plant ~ Why We Should Be Worried…

Estimated number of people living within 30 kilometers of Fukui’s 14 reactors: 1,249,981
(Fukui Shimbun, Oct. 21, 2011)

Distance from the Ohi reactors to central Kyoto city: 60 kilometers

The following message is from Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action Japan. Click on the pictures to view a larger image.

The red lines on this JPEG photo depict the shattered zones (earthquake faults) under the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant. The information is from Kansai Electric. The information is laid over Google Earth by Professor Mitsuhisa Watanabe, tectonic geomorphologist, Toyo University (Tokyo, Japan.)

The F-6 fault which is suspected of being an active fault is marked. The boat-shaped blue shows the location of the original trench excavation.

Professor Watanabe inspected the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant site yesterday (June 27th) with 5 members of the Japanese Diet. He confirmed 3 locations where the F-6 fault which is suspected of being an active fault can be examined by excavation. According to Professor Watanabe, the process to confirm whether this fault is active or not can be undertaken within a one week period (this includes the time required for refilling the excavation).

Government regulations state that category “S” equipment which require rigorous seismic resistance standards are “not assumed to be built over active faults.” Yesterday, it was confirmed during the on-site examination that the pipes for the emergency coolant intake from the ocean are “S” category, and they cross over the F-6 fault.

The Fukui prefecture newspapers report on the above issue today. Below, see Kansai Electric’s original sketch of the Northwest Wall of the trench. The sketch depicts a classic active fault. This controversial sketch was not submitted by Kansai Electric during the recent government back-check of Ohi.

Yuichi Sugiyama, a prominent member of the government’s back-check committee, in an interview with Kyodo (article 26 June) stated, “It is necessary to make an onsite examination of the shattered faults once more. We have only seen part of the past inspection records. We need to examine all of the information.”
(Original Japanese of Sugiyama quote:「現地で破砕帯をもう一度調査するべきだろう。過去の調査記録も一部しか見ていないので、全部確認するべきだ。」)

For more details, contact Green Action.

Aileen Mioko Smith: cell +81-90-3620-9251.

Fresh Currents

Today I bring you news of a Kyoto Journal project I have been involved in for over 12 months now. Please help spread the word about our fundraising campaign and help us build a sustainable future!

Japan’s Flow from a Nuclear Past to a Renewable Future

More than a year after the triple meltdown at Fukushima, Japan and the rest of the world continue to grapple with the short- and long-term consequences. The myth that nuclear power can deliver us from the long-term evils of fossil fuels has been shattered. Renewable energy, long dismissed as impractical, is being given serious reconsideration. Japan can and must take advantage of this opportunity to rethink and refocus its energy strategies.

In Kyoto, birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, a dedicated group of reporters, writers, artists, editors, and photographers associated with Kyoto Journal ( is taking a fresh look at proven and innovative alternative technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, mini-hydro, and biomass as well as the even greater number that are being actively researched, but are insufficiently recognized and under-funded.

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News Roundup: PM Noda Defies Massive Public Opposition to OK Restart of Ohi Reactors / Expert Warns of Active Faults Under Ohi Nuclear Plant

11,000 protestors gathered outside Prime Minister Noda’s official residence last night to oppose the restart of the Ohi nuclear reactors in Fukui prefecture.

However, none of this was broadcast on Japanese TV. [Source: Fukushima Voice]

And today in direct defiance of massive domestic opposition, Prime Minister Noda gave the go-ahead for the reactors to be restarted.

Activists have collected more than 7.5 million signatures on a petition urging an end to atomic power. Protesters have poured into the street almost daily over the past week. [Source: Reuters]

A Mainichi newspaper poll recently showed that 71 percent of the Japanese population are against the nuclear restarts.  And in direct contradiction of  PM Noda’s claims that the restarts are necessary for Japanese business, a Reuters Tankan poll has revealed that 72 percent of Japanese firms also want no early restart before safety can be guaranteed. Already there is speculation that this decision by the already unpopular Noda, “could undermine his political support and force early elections. ” [Source: Bloomberg]

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