In the last class we discussed the Bhopal incident in India in which thousands and thousands of people still see the harm from the gas leak today. Thousands of people died within days of the incident and today children are being born with extreme defects. This got me thinking of other detrimental accidents that have happened in the past. Whether or not it was due to carelessness or just unforeseen circumstances, these things do happen. I decided to think about the Nuclear incident in Fukushima that happened five years ago.
For the people who don’t know, almost exactly five years ago Japan was struck with a brutal earthquake that triggered a tsunami that struck the shore intensely. Part of the tsunami crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and caused a couple meltdowns. As a result, some of the fuel rods inside of the power plant melted and nuclear waste was released into the environment. On top of all this radiation being released, 19,000 people have been killed along with almost double that were left homeless. Like in Bhopal, the government in Japan has tried to play down this disaster to make it seem less devastating.
Some of the problems still arise with the alarming amount of radiation that is still present in the areas. Scientists are still unable to go into the plants and retrieve all of the fuel rods due to the severe amount of radiation still present. Harsh criticisms have arisen in accordance to some of the radiation seeping out into the sea. Once this radiation is able to reach the ocean, it would be extremely difficult to remove it. The fact of the matter is that the reactors did, and continue to, leak radiation into groundwater and into the pacific ocean. It’s crazy to think how something as terrible as this could happen. Japan was certainly dealt a poor set of cards when they were struck with the earthquakes as well as the tsunamis. Hopefully now, people may be able to take the protective measures needed to prevent the leakage of such large amounts of radiation into the outside world if something similar to what happened in Fukushima were to happen again.
- Mike Montague