Request that ITER
not be constructed in the Tomakomai area
To Dr.Robert Aymar
Director of ITER Engineering Design Activities
Director of The Citizens Against ITER in Tomakomai (CAIT)
Tomakomai-city, Hokkaido Japan
July 22, 1996
Director of ITER Engineering Design Activities
San Diego ITER Joint Works Site, 11025 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, U.S.A.
Re. : Request that ITER not be constructed in the Tomakomai area
Dear Dr. Aymar
I am the director of The Citizens Against ITER in Tomakomai (CAIT), a Japanese nonprofit organization. CAIT does not believe that the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) should be constructed in the East Tomakomai Developing Area on Hokkaido island in northern Japan. ( Please see attached page that shows the profile of CAIT. )
I am writing this letter with the hope of explaining to your Board why we oppose ITER and how wide spread the anti-ITER movement is throughout Hokkaido. According to a December 1995 public opinion poll held by Hokkaido Shimbun ( newspaper ) , which has a readership of 1.2 million , 60% of Tomakomai residents do not want ITER to be built in the Tomakomai area . ( Please see attached page listing local information. )
We sincerely hope that your Board will decide not to locate ITER in the Tomakomai area.
The reasons we oppose ITER being constructed in the Tomakomai area are as follows;
<1> The potential dangers of radio active Tritium
There is a risk that the radio active material , Tritium , may leak from the reactor into the environment and affect the health of the residents in the area.
<2> The risk from nuclear disposal
Byproducts from the nuclear fusion will make material on the reactor wall radio-active. This means that nuclear disposal would have to be stored in or be moved through the city creating further risk for Tomakomai residents.
<3> The risk of calamity
Damage to the reactor wall or problems involving the super conducting magnet could cause serious accidents. We can never accept the risk of a grave accident.
<4> The impropriety of the site
1) The Kobe Earthquake of Jan. 17, 1995 occurred right on one of Japan's active faults. The ground of the proposed ITER site in Tomakomai city is very unstable, and close to the Umaoi Active Fault. We are concerned that an earthquake may occur in Tomakomai in the future. We do not think that it is appropriate for a reactor to be built in this environment.
2) A thinly populated 10km area around the site is essential for refuge in the case of an emergency. But, the proposed Tomakomai site is too close to Tomakomai City and surrounding towns.
3) The environment around the Benten Swamp which is proposed to be the site for ITER has valuable natural resources. It is located close to the Utonai Lake which is a registered wetland of the Ramsar Treaty. Many environmentalists are calling for the Benten Swamp to be registered as a preservation area. We are afraid that ITER would damage this valuable natural resources.
4) The coastal area of the proposed site is one of the largest fishing grounds in Japan. We are concerned that waste from the plant and possibly Tritium from ITER would affect fishery.
Again, we do not want the risks from nuclear fusion in the Tomakomai area of Hokkaido Japan. We sincerely hope that your Board will decide not to locate ITER in this area.
Yours truly ,
CAIT is a citizen's group that was orgaized in November 1995. Currently there are almost 100 members. We have organized many workshops calling various scientists to discuss issues regarding ITER. We have also collected 4000 signatures of Tomakomai residents opposing the construction of ITER in the Tomakomai area.
We submitted requests in December 1995 opposing ITER to Japanese Prime Minister Hashimoto Ryutaro, Hokkaido Governor Hori Tatsuya, Tomakomai City mayor Torikoshi Tadayuki and the chairman of Tomakomai city congress.
We also handed a questionnaire to mayor Torikoshi and the Tomakomai city congress members regarding the ITER issue, we are currently analyzing their responses.
* A public opinion poll in December 1995 showed that 60% of Tomakomai residents oppose ITER coming to the Tomakomai area.
* Since January 1996, workshops opposing ITER have been held every month. "Anti-ITER" sentiment is growing day by day.
* In February 1996, citizen's network "ITER-NET" was organized by activists who were concerned about ITER's potential problems. ITER-NET consists of 200 people who live all over Hokkaido as well as in Tomakomai city. ITER-NET has helped generate public awareness of various problems and concerns for the public regarding ITER.
* In March 1996, the conference of School Teachers' Union in the Iburi region, including Tomakomai city, voted against constructing ITER in the area.
* In March 1996, a political party, The Freedom Union of Hokkaido, was formed which opposes ITER.
* On May Day 1996, the assembly of the Federation of Tomakomai Labors' Union stated their opposition to ITER being brought into the Tomakomai area.
The Citizens Against ITER in Tomakomai (CAIT)