Six years after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, engineers remain vexed by a key question: What damage did the massive earthquake cause at the atomic plant before it was hit by the subsequent tsunami? The answer matters because of the potential implications for the earthquake safety standards of other nuclear reactors in Japan, which sits on the seismically unstable Ring of Fire around the Pacific. The area accounts for about 90% of the planet’s earthquakes, with Japan being shaken by 10% of them, according to the US Geological Survey. Just three out of Japan’s 42 usable reactors are running at present, as operators seek to clear regulatory, safety and legal hurdles and overcome community opposition following the Fukushima calamity. Despite the obstacles, Japan still aims to derive between 20% and 22% of its power from nuclear sources by 2030. Shaun Burnie, a nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, called for a fundamental overhaul of the way the regulator reviews earthquake risks. He praised the engineers who had “spoken out” about the potential pre-tsunami damage at Fukushima Daiichi, saying they were right to demand further investigation. “That is something the nuclear industry is determined to avoid as the ramifications, if proven, would be catastrophic for the future operation of reactors in Japan – but also have major implications worldwide,” he said in an interview.
Asia Times 8th March 2017 read more »
Six years after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which spawned a massive tsunami causing the reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the reconstruction of affected areas is still far from complete. In particular, some 80,000 people are still living as evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture, where the crippled nuclear plant is located. There are no signs of regeneration in the devastated local communities around the plant. Meanwhile, the damages from the nuclear disaster and the costs of cleaning up the mess keep ballooning.
Asahi Shimbun 9th March 2017 read more »
The ongoing scourge of Japan’s Fukushima — radiation — is now roaming the disaster-hit area on four legs. Hundreds of radioactive wild boars moved into deserted towns after the nuclear crisis. Now they scour the empty streets and overgrown backyards of the Namie town for food, an unexpected nuisance for those returning home six years after the meltdown. Namie and another town, Tomioka, are within the 20 kilometer exclusion zone from the Fukushima plant and set to partly reopen for nuclear refugees this month. But the boars have been known to attack people.
Voice of America 9th March 2017 read more »
These incredibly unusual photographs of the terrifying mammals were taken in the exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant, whose reactors went into meltdown after it was struck by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. There have been many obvious dangers faced by Japan in the wake of the disaster, but one of the most unexpected has also proved to be one of the most fascinating.
Mirror 9th March 2017 read more »
The Sun 9th March 2017 read more »
Express 9th March 2017 read more »
Thousands of people who fled after the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant six years ago have been told they must return to their homes or lose housing subsidies, despite lingering concerns over radiation in their former neighbourhoods. The instruction, condemned by campaigners as a violation of the evacuees’ right to live in a safe environment, will affect an estimated 27,000 people who were not living inside the mandatory evacuation zone imposed after Fukushima became the scene of the worst nuclear accident in Japanese history. Many of the people who left their homes of their own volition after the triple meltdown are mothers and their young children, who experts say face greater risks to their health from prolong ed exposure to relatively low levels of radiation. The voluntary evacuations have forced families to live apart, while parents struggle to earn enough money to fund their new accommodation and keep up mortgage payments on their abandoned homes. Residents who were not living in the mandatory evacuation zone when they fled have been campaigning to retain housing subsidies, in a challenge to the authorities’ attempts to convince more evacuees that some neighbourhoods have been properly decontaminated. Campaigners have called on the government to declare Fukushima neighbourhoods unfit for human habitation unless atmospheric radiation is brought to below one millisievert (mSv) a year, the maximum public exposure limit recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. While 1 mSv a year remains the government’s long-term target, it is encouraging people to return to areas where radiation levels are below 20 mSv a year, an annual exposure limit that, internationally, applies to nuclear power plant workers.
Guardian 10th March 2017 read more »
Remember Fukushima – events in London.
Remember Fukushima (accessed) 10th March 2017 read more »
They want you to think the Fukushima nuclear disaster is over. But it’s still with us.
Greenpeace 10th March 2017 read more »