Yokosuka Port Location Above Seismic Focal Zone ``Poses Risks to US Nuclear Ships

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) Kanagawa’s Yokosuka Port at which US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington is home porting is located above a focal zone of an inevitable major earthquake, posing a risk that the USS GW will become stranded if a quake with a magnitude at 8 or so occurs, a Japanese newspaper warned.

An earthquake at the fault complex under the Miura Peninsula, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, will include Yokosuka Port in the focal region, and the probability of an M-7.2 earthquake is said to be higher than before because of crustal deformation associated with the 3.11 earthquake, according to Akahata.

It is expected that if a similar-sized earthquake as the 1703 Genroku Earthquake (M-8) occurs, the tsunami undertow would reach minus 4.6 meters. Berth 12, where the USS GW is anchoring has a depth of 15 meters, and the GW’s draft is about 12 meters. If the sea level is lowered by 3 meters due to the tsunami undertow, the ship will likely hit the sea floor, the paper said.

The Japanese Communist Party Kanagawa Prefectural Committee early this month made representations to the Kanagawa prefectural government and demanded that Governor Kuroiwa Yuji stops allowing the U.S. nuclear-powered vessel to use Yokosuka Port as its homeport.

Chair of the JCP Kanagawa committee, Koike Kiyoshi called for a halt to the utilization of Yokosuka Port for the USS GW while pointing out the presumed extent of damage caused by radiation contamination in the case of an accident.

Koike also warned of the possibility of inability to cool the GW’s nuclear reactors due to a loss of water supply functions after an earthquake or tsunamis.

The party asked Yokosuka City to demand the central government and the United States to stop using Yokosuka as a U.S. navy’s port, and that an evacuation handbook for residents be made in case of emergency.

Photo: Aircraft carrier USS George Washington during a port visit to Yokosuka in April 2011.

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