Release: Chicago Residents Protest Japan Plans to Re-start Nuclear Reactors


 Contact:  David Kraft, NEIS, (773)342-7650,                                                                                     Dr. Lora Chamberlain,  (773)486-7660
Dr. Norma Field, (773) 324-2002,



Protest events scheduled in other U.S. cities, Japan

CHICAGO—Safe-energy advocates protested outside of the Chicago Japanese Consulate against Japan’s plans to re-start two reactors at the Ohi nuclear power station, in Fukui Prefecture in Western Japan.  The event was scheduled to coincide with massive rallies against the re-start taking place in Japan today.  Other events are planned throughout the U.S. through Monday.

“We ask the Consul General Yoshifumi Okamura to convey to Prime Minister Noda our support for a nuclear free Japan and a nuclear-free world,” says David Kraft, director of Nuclear Energy Information Service, a nuclear-power watchdog organization based in Chicago. “We stand in support of the people of Japan, and members of Noda’s own party who reject nuclear power as too dangerous. We say ‘No more Hiroshimas!  No more Fukushimas!’”

 Letters signed by Illinoisans – themselves in the most nuclear-reliant state in the U.S. – will be delivered to the Consul General for delivery to the Prime Minister, supporting the request of the Japanese people for a nuclear moratorium.

“We ask Prime Minster Noda to keep the Nuclear Power plants closed and move rapidly towards real sustainable, safe energy sources, such as Wind, Solar, Geothermal and Tidal, so that his people can heal from the Fukushima catastrophe and start to live a life free from Nuclear Fear!” says Dr. Lora Chamberlain of Nuclear Free Illinois.

Demonstrations are scheduled throughout Japan today and through the weekend, protesting the Prime Minister’s call to re-start the two shuttered Ohi reactors despite deep local and national opposition.  Historically in Japan no reactors are allowed to restart without the approval of the local and prefectural government.  These have been heavily pressured into giving their consent for the Ohi restart, violating this “states’ rights” principle.

Recent polls show support for nuclear power badly eroded in Japan.  And even Prime Minister Noda’s own party split nearly 50-50 on abandoning nuclear and moving towards renewable energy and efficiency.

“Many Japanese are prepared to weather another hot summer without the so-called benefits of nuclear-enabled cooling,” says Dr. Norma Field, Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor in Japanese Studies in East Asian Languages and Civilizations at University of Chicago. “It is evident that Mr. Noda is determined to force economic “necessity” as a rationale for a policy that is the very opposite of life-enhancing.”

“Nuclear power is simply the kamikaze energy choice – short term gain at destructive cost.  Japan has 54 reactors all in a geologically unstable and active part of the Ring of Fire; has not yet implemented safety recommendations; has no independent Nuclear Safety Agency; has already endured 2 nuclear bombings and several severe nuclear power accidents.  Why the government wants to create a new generation of hibakusha is simply irrational,” Kraft asserts.

Illinois is home to four operating reactors of the type that exploded and melted down at Fukushima in 2011.  The threat from nuclear power – which began with the first controlled chain reaction here in Chicago 70 years ago this December – is not lost on the protestors, notes Dr. Chamberlain.

“We in Illinois are looking for the same thing from our Governments, for them to recognize that accidents happen and that when accidents happen at Nuclear Power plants, they often get out of hand quite quickly and degenerate into dangerous situations for millions of people. We in Illinois want a future free from Nuclear Fear as well,” Dr. Chamberlain says.