Aomori, Japan

 June 7-8, 2008


An Appeal to the G8 Energy Ministers Meeting 

from the Iwate Committee to Protect the Sanriku Sea from Radiation

We Oppose Operation of the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant

The nuclear spent-fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho village, Aomori Prefecture, Japan is scheduled to begin full-scale operations in the summer of 2008, and 800 tons of spent nuclear fuel will be reprocessed annually.  However, there are many problems with the reprocessing plant as described below, and if operation is permitted, it will cause semi-permanent radioactive contamination of the environment.

Massive amounts of radioactive substances will be released into the ocean and atmosphere.

The reprocessing plant will discharge radioactive substances into the atmosphere from a 150 m exhaust stack and into the ocean from an exhaust pipe extending 3 km into the sea at a depth of 44 m.  The amount of radioactive substances released will be 379 times that released from a 1000 MW caliber nuclear power plant—i.e., the amount of radioactive substances released in just one day will be equivalent to the amount released from a nuclear power plant in one year.  Since it is not feasible to supply the enormous amounts of water necessary to dilute the liquid tritium releases to comply with standards for nuclear power plants in Japan, regulations on the concentration of radioactive emissions into the marine environment from nuclear power plants will not apply to this plant.  Further, due to mainly economic reasons, the facility will not be equipped to remove krypton 85 (noble gas), tritium and carbon14, and all will be released into the environment.

A fault line runs directly under the reprocessing plant, and may trigger a magnitude 8 earthquake.  Can the safety of the reprocessing plant be guaranteed?


Unclear destination for plutonium extracted from reprocessing.

If the reprocessing plant begins full operations, 8 tons of plutonium will be extracted annually.  However, regarding the main uses for this plutonium, prospects are poor for the fast breeder reactor, and the pluthermal program for burning MOX fuel (plutonium and uranium mixed oxide) in existing nuclear plants is at a standstill.  Furthermore, now, even without reprocessing, Japan already has approximately 45 tons of plutonium in storage. 

Our global environment and food safety is threatened by the impending full operation of the reprocessing plant.  We have an obligation to pass down our bountiful Earth to our children and future generations.  

We ask that the G8 Energy Ministers appeal to the Japanese government to halt operation of the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant.   

June 7, 2008

Representative Organization:

Iwate Committee to Protect the Sanriku Sea from Radiation

6-36-8 Yamagishi, Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, 020-0004, Japan

Tel/Fax 019-661-1002


Cooperative Organizations

Home of flowers and herbs (Aomori Prefecture) 

PEACE LAND (Aomori Prefecture) 

Children, Ocean and Sky Group (Iwate Prefecture) 

Committee for the Education and Future of Our Children (Iwate Prefecture)

Sendai Committee to Protect the Sanriku and Miyagi Sea from Radiation (Miyagi Prefecture)