“There were studies which showed a one-in-1,000-year probability of the Fukushima coast being hit by a 10m tsunami. Unfortunately, those studies were dismissed. The nuclear industry didn’t think it would happen, so they didn’t prepare for it.” ~ Tatsujiro Suzuki, the deputy head of Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission

In 2011 a massive earthquake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima nuclear plant, resulting in a meltdown that became the world’s worst atomic crisis in 25 years. According to an article on NBCnew.com,

“Fukushima has remained the most prominent legacy of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 which killed close to 16,000 people.

Following the quake, the plant suffered three nuclear meltdowns and as many as 300,000 people were forced to evacuate or voluntarily left their homes. A survey said last month that more people had died because of the evacuation process, some 1,600, than had been killed in Fukushima by the disaster itself.”

On October 3, the plant suffered another leak radioactive water after workers overfilled a storage tank, spilling out 430 liters of contaminated water that is 6,700 times higher than the legal limit of 30 becquerels.

I came across a pictorial in The Atlantic which depicts the current status of the Fukushima Prefecture:


Fukushima Prefecture
Street lamps light the street in the empty town of Namie in Fukushima prefecture, on September 23, 2013. Namie was formerly home to more than 20,000 residents. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

The Broken Lives of Fukushima

More than two and a half years have passed since the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan, wrecking the Fukushima nuclear plant and claiming nearly 16,000 lives. When it became clear that nuclear contamination was widespread, the government evacuated about 160,000 people living near the plant and established a 20-km compulsory exclusion zone, which remains in place today. Today, Tokyo Electric Power Company is still struggling to contain contaminated water at the destroyed plant. Former residents are allowed to return up to once a month, but they’re forbidden to stay overnight. Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj recently joined one of these trips, capturing images of a haunting landscape and lives torn apart by disaster. [40 photos]


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