Bradcat’s Japanese Culture Focus… Fukushima Disaster

Fukushima, which lies 130 miles north east of Tokyo, is home to The Fukushima I (Daiichi) Nuclear Power Plant which consists of six light water, boiling water reactors. The power plant is one of the 25 largest nuclear power plants in the world. 

 A natural gas storage facility in Chiba (south of Tokyo), 
which was affected by the Tōhoku earthquake

Fukushima Daiichi Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami damage

Following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, Fukushima Daiichi was the second closest power station to the epicentre of the earthquake, after Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant. During this time, the Fukushima incident was labeled with a “Level 7” on the International Nuclear Event Scale (The highest level which can be obtained) with the Chernobyl disaster being the only other “Level 7” in history.

A diagram showing the level of flooding during the tsunami

There were no deaths caused by radiation exposure, while approximately 18,500 people died due to the earthquake and tsunami. The local fishermen became suspicious of the possible leaking of radioactive water which was taking place after the incident, which was later confirmed in July 2013, over two years later.

On 20th August 2013, in a further incident, it was announced that 300 tonnes of heavily contaminated water had leaked from a storage tank. The water was radioactive enough to be hazardous to nearby staff, and the leak was assessed as Level 3 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

Masayuki Ono, general manager of Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) which runs the plant, said: “We found a radiation level strong enough to give someone a five-year dose of radiation within one hour.”

What do you think the Japanese government should do to prevent the situation getting any worse? 

Will this lead to a total abandonment of Fukushima like Chernobyl?

2 thoughts on “Bradcat’s Japanese Culture Focus… Fukushima Disaster

  1. Just for clarification, the photo included is of an explosion at a natural gas storage facility in Chiba (south of Tokyo), which occurred in the hours after the earthquake.

    The 100 mSv/hour rate (what the '5 year dose' refers to) is from beta radiation, which has a very limited range (on the order of a few meters) and isn't capable of penetrating skin. The rate for much more penetrating gamma radiation from the contaminated water is about 1.5 mSv/hour. High, but not catastrophic.


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