FukushimaDaiichi Nuclear Accident
FukushimaDaiichi nuclear accident happened on March 11, 2011 in Japan afterthe massive Tōhoku earthquake. The fifteen meter tsunami interruptedpower connection, which led to a meltdown in three nuclear reactorsin the plant to melt down. From March 12, the factory begandischarging huge quantities of nuclear content into the environment.The nuclear emissions reached Level 7 on the International NuclearEvent Scale (INES), making the incident the second biggest nuclearleak in the world.
Ittook the Japanese engineers a two weeks to fix the damaged reactors.However, vast ocean waters were already contaminated with experiencefrom such emergencies. In mid-December 2011, the Japanese governmentannounced that it was officially closing down the plant. Thecontinued renovation of the industry aimed at preventing furtherleakage of radioactive content into the environment, while at thesame time extracting nuclear hazards that had already found their wayinto the environment (Nuclear Energy Agency, 2013).
Sofar, no radiation or death cases have been associated with theincident. The government recommended relocation of more 300,000people for unspecified reasons. By 2014, the population is still toreturn home because the government has not declared the environmentsafe and free of radioactive elements. Approximately 16,000 evacuatedpersons have died as of 2014. The government associated most of thedeaths to the earthquake and tsunami instead of nuclear radiation(Nuclear Energy Agency, 2013).
In2013, the Japanese government claimed that the biggest challenge itwas facing from the incident was cleaning the radioactive materialdissolved in the water. The task will take several decades to becomplete. In order to prevent further leakage of radioactive materialinto the environment, the plant’s staff through constructingunderground walls with capacity to block radioactive elements to movefrom the reactor into the environment (Nuclear Energy Agency, 2013).
Accordingto the World Health Organization (WHO), no citizen suffered fromshort term radiation. The organization further claimed that thepeople affected by the accident were exposed to very limitedradiation such that it is impossible to detect individuals affectedby the condition at early stages. Furthermore, the accident’svictim vulnerability to cancers that may result from the radiation isminimal and impossible to detect in early stages. The people at riskof limited exposure to the radiation are the people mainly livingclose to the industry (Conca, 2013).
In2013, the highly contested linear no-threshold model (LNT)hypothesis, evacuation of the population around Fukushima nuclearplant was necessary because girls living in the environment are 70%likely to suffer from thyroid cancer during adulthood. Girls thatlive in a healthy environment during infancy have a vulnerabilityrate of 0.75% (Nuclear Energy Agency, 2013). The LNT further assertsthat male infants that continued living close to the Fukushima plantare 7% more likely to suffer from leukemia than infants that areraised in healthy environment with no traces of radioactivitymaterial. Similarly, infant girls that would continue living close tothe Fukushima would be 6% more vulnerable to breast cancer thatinfant girls from a healthy environment that has never experiencedradioactivity contamination. On the other hand, the hypothesisclaimed that infant male children born in 2011 and raised in the areaaround Fukushima until adulthood are 7% more susceptible to leukemiathan other people raised in a healthy environment elsewhere. Finally,the research claims that infant girls raised in the region affectedby the Fukushima nuclear plant are 4% more likely to suffer fromother solid cancers associated with women (Scott, 2011).
Agriculturein the region was negatively affected on short term becauseradioactive elements spoilt the water. The sector will take a fewdecades to recover since the water cleaning process is a complex taskthat require numerous years to achieve 100% clean up (Scott, 2011).
Scott,B.R. (2011). Assessing potential radiological harm to Fukushimarecovery workers. InternationalDose response Society,9 (1): 301-312.
NuclearEnergy Agency (2013). The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power PlantAccident: OECD/NEA Nuclear Safety Response and Lessons Learnt. Web,retrieved from http://ww.oecd-nea.org/pub/2013/7161-fukushima2013.pdf
Conca,J. (2013). ‘No Clinically Observable Effects’ From FukushimaRadiation: UN Report Offers Corrective to Japan’s Nuclear Freeze.TheBreak through.