The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today expressed concern over the state of emergency declared at the Fukushima power plant in central Japan. It noted that the strategy of building nuclear power stations in coastal areas – common to both Japan and the UK – made them particularly vulnerable to sea surges and climate-change related sea level rises.

The site, with six nuclear reactors, is one of the largest concentrations of nuclear plants in the world. All six reactors shut down automatically when the earthquake hit, but the cooling pumps on the oldest reactor, which dates from 1971, failed to activate. This means the reactor core will not be brought down from its normal operating temperature as would normally be the case in a shut-down. Over 2,800 residents have been ordered to evacuate nearby homes.

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “We are deeply saddened at today’s loss of life and hope that the emergency at the Fukushima plant is resolved quickly and without further incident. The policy of building ever more nuclear power stations increases the likelihood that a natural disaster such as today’s earthquake could be significantly worsened or even dwarfed by a nuclear emergency. Both Japan and Britain locate all their nuclear plants on the coast to take advantage of unbroken supplies of cooling water. But this also exposes them to the brunt of both tsunamis and the coastal floods which are likely to become ever more frequent due to climate change.

“With the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster next month, today’s incident underlines the constant danger that nuclear power presents due to events totally beyond the control of power station operations. We urge the government to reconsider its support for building new nuclear power stations in Britain.”

CND will be holding a parliamentary meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster on Tuesday 26th April, 6:00-7:30pm in the Grimond Room, Portcullis House. ‘Remembering Chernobyl: nuclear power is not the answer’ will be hosted by Caroline Lucas MP.