Symposium INDEX
Japan Peace Conference 2005
Special Reports


Goto Masahiko

Citizens' Association to Question Planned Deployment of Nuclear Carriers to Yokosuka Port


A Nuclear Power Plant At the Mouth of Tokyo Bay?
No to the Dangerous Plan to Use Yokosuka Bay as Nuclear Carriers' Homeport!

1. On October 28, 2005, the Japanese and U.S. governments announced that they agreed on the deployment of a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the U.S. base in Yokosuka from 2008, to replace the conventional aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. On the 29th, they published an interim report on U.S. military realignment plans. Last March we submitted to the Mayor of Yokosuka City and the Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture more than 300,000 signatures against the plan that were collected in our city and all over the country. Mayor of Yokosuka, heads of other neighboring municipalities, and Kanagawa Governor have expressed opposition to the plan. We cannot suppress anger at Japanese government trying to push ahead with the plan, turning a deaf ear to its people's earnest desire for no more damage caused by radiation.

2. A nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, with two large nuclear reactors, is even more dangerous than nuclear power plants built on land in many ways: Highly enriched uranium is used; The limited space in the vessel does not allow latitude in designing the reactor core; It has no reactor containment as protection against radiation; The reactors will constantly be affected by vibration of the ship; There will always be a possible reactor system breakdown due to a wreck at sea; Military operation will likely to force the ship to do unreasonable power adjustment. Chemical high explosives are on board together with the nuclear reactors; and reactors can be destroyed at combat.

Radioactive leakage has happened at U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carriers at their homeports. In November 1999, the Stennis went aground in the San Diego Bay, its homeport, and the shipユs pump to circulate the cooling water broke down, scramming the two nuclear reactors. It could have resulted in a disaster. If Yokosuka Port is used as homeport of a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, maintenance and repair work for the carrier will be undertaken inside the facilities of the port. Radioactive equipments and nuclear waste including the cooling water will be brought out from the ship to be disposed. There will be an increase of danger of radioactive leakage and workers' exposure to radiation, and radioactive contamination of environment which exposes residents to higher risk of developing cancers in several years or decades. Furthermore, there will be an increased risk of nuclear reactor accidents during shutdown, repair work, and the power test of the reactor after repair. There can be a case of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier returning to Yokosuka Port for repair, emitting radioactivity due to the reactor accident that took place during voyage.

According to the study by Mr. Jackson Davis, professor at California University, in a case that nuclear reactor accident takes place at the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Yokosuka Port, radioactive fallout would fall on the downwind area several tens of kilometers away, and if a south wind is blowing, vast areas including Yokohama and the Tokyo metropolitan district with millions of residents would be exposed to radiation. Once radiation is taken in the human body, radioactive material will stay and emit radiation, which will cause leukemia, thyroid and brain cancers. Radiation will also cause genetic disorder, whose damage will extend even to the unborn babies and the generations to come. Professor Davis estimated the death toll, including the death from the genetic disorder, would reach 77530. Indeed, the deployment plan brings to the mouth of Tokyo Bay a base with nuclear reactors and repair facilities that is more dangerous than nuclear power plant, causing a possible destruction of center of Japan. What is worse, the U.S. Navy refuses to provide the Japanese central and local governments with information on the nuclear reactors and allow them to examine the safety of the nuclear reactor.

3. However, we have three years more until 2008. The plan, which had been negotiated behind the scenes, was just revealed. We believe that they cannot ignore the opposition of local governments and people to force the deployment. Mayor of Yokosuka and Kanagawa Governor have started taking actions against the deployment. Since the announcement of the deployment plan, we have received a number of electronic signatures against the plan from all over the country. Our urgent signature collecting campaign on the street has had a positive response from the citizens. Confrontation has been prominent between the USA that has tried to impose burdens on Japan and the Japanese government that is under US thumb, and coalition of local people and governments. This coming December, our association will send a delegation to Washington D.C. to bring the U.S government and congress our voices against the deployment of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The delegation will directly appeal to the U.S. government, congress, and citizens, the desire of people of Yokosuka and the rest of Japan that the dangerous plan should be cancelled.

Finally, I want to call for your continuous support for our signature drive to block the plan that is dangerous for all of us.

Citizens' Association to Question Planned Deployment of Nuclear Carriers to Yokosuka Port

Address: Shimizu Bldg 3F, 1-26, Otaki-machi, Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture

Tel: 046-827-2713 Fax: 827-2731