Group meets near Plant Vogtle for 'Day of Remembrance and Warning'

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email
Southern Company

Southern Company President Tom Fanning told News 12 earlier this year they've already learned from Fukushima and continue to learn. (WRDW-TV / March 12, 2012)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, March 11, 2012

WAYNESBORO, Ga. -- One year ago Sunday the worst nuclear disaster in decades occurred at a nuclear facility in Japan.

The meltdown at Fukushima followed the earthquake and tsunami that took nearly 20,000 lives.

On Sunday, anti-nuclear activists from all over the Southeast as well as some Burke County residents gathered near Plant Vogtle to remember the disaster at Fukushima. They also wanted to speak out about the newly-approved construction of reactors 3 and 4 and the lessons they say we should have learned from Fukushima.

"Our concern is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved these two new reactors without slowing down to learn the lessons learned from Fukushima," said organizer Amanda hill Attkisson.

These lessons were about safety and emergency plans.

"There should be more safety precautions because there's a lot of things that a lot of people don't know," said Burke County resident Dwight Howard.

It was called a "Day of Remembrance" but the group was here to do more than just remember; they wanted to send a message.

"Just because it happened over 8,000 miles away doesn't mean it can't happen here," Howard said.

Dozens of people listened to music and speakers, including a speaker from Japan, who traveled here to share his message.

"I believe that stopping Vogtle will stop the revival of nuclear energy within Japan and in order to stop this revival in Japan is why I have come here today," said Shoji Kihara, who travels around to speak out against nuclear energy.

He says the nuclear disaster in Japan is still ongoing.

"It is far from being over, the people who have evacuated cannot come back home, there are high levels of radiation at the site," Kihara said.

He said he doesn't see an end to the damage any time soon.

"I think it will take over 40 years," Kihara said.

Over 40 years to recover from the worst nuclear disaster in decades -- a disaster this group says America has a lot to learn from.

Meanwhile Southern Company officials say they have learned from this. President Tom Fanning told News 12 earlier this year they've already learned from Fukushima and continue to learn.

Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers says the Westinghouse AP 1000 reactors that 3 and 4 will have are already being studied overseas by Southern Company employees.

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