On 11 March 2011, an earthquake cut power to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and a tsunami wiped out emergency generators. Three reactor cores exploded, releasing the highest amount of radioactivity in the environment since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Although cleanup in Fukushima has been in progress for 10 years, many years remain before all the melted fuel debris will be removed from the damaged reactors. Watch to see what the nuclear power plant looks like today, and how the disaster has impacted the surrounding community.
Science 19th Mar 2021 read more »
In Fukushima Prefecture, where the effects of the disaster were most acutely felt then and now, tens of thousands of people are still unable to return home due to concerns about radiation. Like the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents before it, the Fukushima disaster forced people and governments across the globe to rethink nuclear power. A number of countries paused their nuclear programs to reassess their safety in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. And protesters took to the streets around the world, arguing that the risk of a potential nuclear accident outweighed the benefits of carbon-neutral energy. But as concerns about climate change grow, some see nuclear power as a crucial option in weaning the world off of fossil fuel. Shimamoto is somewhere in between: “If [nuclear power] goes bad, it could kill you. It’s a necessary evil — but one that I hope would go away at some point.” Globally, the International Energy Agency projects a small increase in power generation from nuclear sources over the next two decades due to new capacity in countries including India, the United Arab Emirates and, most significantly, China.
The World 19th March 2021 read more »
The Mito District Court ordered the suspension of Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tokai No. 2 Power Station on March 18, citing lack of preparation for an effective evacuation plan in the event of a serious accident, and that local residents’ safety was not ensured. It is the nation’s first judicial decision banning a nuclear power plant’s operations simply because of inadequate evacuation plans. Absolute safety does not exist when operating nuclear power plants. If a serious accident occurs, widespread damage will occur, and evacuating residents will be extremely difficult. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident 10 years ago is testament to that fact.
Mainichi 20th March 2021 read more »