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The Fukushima nuclear catastrophe – far from over, 10 years later

10 years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Briefing paper by Dr. Philip White, Feb. 2021

From the introduction:

Ten years ago, three of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station suffered melt downs in the days following a Magnitude 9 earthquake that struck off the northeast coast of Japan on 11 March 2011. Along with the 1986 nuclear accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in the former Soviet Union, it was one of the two worst nuclear power accidents in history.

On the tenth anniversary, it is important that we remember what happened then and what has happened since. It is in the interests of those who caused the accident that we forget. We must refuse to do so, for the sake of the victims and to prevent more disasters in future.

The most important take-home message is that the disaster is far from over. In order to win the bid for the (now postponed) 2020 Olympics, then Prime Minister Abe asserted that the nuclear accident was ‘under control’. The government now calls the games (if they are ever held) ‘the recovery Olympics’, with the torch relay route running through Fukushima Prefecture. But despite the efforts of the Japanese Government and the nuclear industry to lull the Japanese public and the world into a false sense of security, the fact is that radioactive contamination remains and many people continue to suffer. Even where compensation is available, nothing can undo the damage done to people’s lives and to the environment.

It is also important to understand that the Fukushima Daichi nuclear accident was by no means the worst-case scenario for nuclear power. But for a few remarkable pieces of good fortune, the disaster could have been far worse.

This paper summarises some of the key issues. In brief:

  • thousands of people are still classified as evacuees;
  • they have not been adequately compensated;
  • the radioactive fallout is still a major problem;
  • decommissioning of the nuclear reactors will take decades and has barely begun;
  • the total cost of decommissioning, decontamination and compensation is astronomical;
  •  the culprits have not been punished; and
  • nuclear vested interests are back in charge of Japan’s energy policy.



February 27, 2021 - Posted by | Fukushima continuing

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