Tens of thousands of people still remain displaced, eight years after the original meltdown. This month, officials said that water pumped into the stricken plant to cool its nuclear cores might have to be dumped into the ocean , due to a lack of storage space for the thousands of tons of contaminated liquid.
Around to tons of highly radioactive water is generated every day ; it's currently stored in hundreds of tanks at the site, from which there have been multiple leaks in the years since decommissioning started. The suggestion of dumping even diluted radioactive runoff raised alarm in neighboring South Korea, and could effect the Japanese fishing industry over fears of contamination, regardless of whether these are valid.
The original disaster sparked panics in China and on the United States West Coast, where radioactive isotopes have been detected in the California wine crop. More Videos Japan marks anniversary of nuclear disaster The worst nuclear disaster in Japan's history started with a wave. After a 9. By the time it reached the Japanese east coast, waves from the tsunami measured up to 40 meters feet in height, sweeping away vehicles, causing buildings to collapse, and severing roads and highways.
Fukushima Meltdown : The World's First Earthquake-Tsunami-Nuclear Disaster
Within 50 minutes of the first quake, the wave crested a meter 33 feet sea wall intended to protect the Fukushima nuclear plant from just such an event. Water began pouring into the plant, inundating the basement, where emergency power generators were soon flooded, knocking vital cooling systems offline and causing reactor fuel rods to begin to melt down and leak deadly radiation into the surrounding area. Fukushima: removal of nuclear fuel rods from damaged reactor building begins.
Published: 15 Apr Fukushima disaster: first residents return to town next to nuclear plant. Published: 10 Apr Fukushima grapples with toxic soil that no one wants. Eight years after the triple disaster, not a single location will take the millions of cubic metres of radioactive soil that remain. Published: 11 Mar Observer dispatch Eight years after Fukushima, what has made evacuees come home? Published: 10 Mar Back in the water: Fukushima no-go zone gets first surf shop since disaster.
Published: 8 Mar The region may forever be associated with catastrophe, but some residents want the world to know that life goes on. Published: 17 Oct Japan admits that Fukushima worker died from radiation. After denials, government ordered to pay compensation to family of lung cancer victim. Published: 5 Sep Rugby World Cup stadium opens as a symbol of 'hope' in tsunami-hit Kamaishi.
A frozen soil barrier was constructed in an attempt to prevent further contamination of seeping groundwater by melted-down nuclear fuel ,  but in July TEPCO revealed that the ice wall had failed to stop groundwater from flowing in and mixing with highly radioactive water inside the wrecked reactor buildings, adding that "its ultimate goal has been to 'curtail' groundwater inflow, not halt it". In , tours to visit the Fukushima disaster area began. Although people in the incident's worst affected areas have a slightly higher risk of developing certain cancers such as leukemia , solid cancers , thyroid cancer , and breast cancer , very few cancers would be expected as a result of accumulated radiation exposures.
In , the World Health Organization reported that area residents who were evacuated were exposed to so little radiation that radiation-induced health effects were likely to be below detectable levels. These percentages represent estimated relative increases over the baseline rates and are not absolute risks for developing such cancers. Due to the low baseline rates of thyroid cancer, even a large relative increase represents a small absolute increase in risks. For example, the baseline lifetime risk of thyroid cancer for females is just three-quarters of one percent and the additional lifetime risk estimated in this assessment for a female infant exposed in the most affected location is one-half of one percent.
The World Nuclear Association reports that the radiation exposure to those living in proximity to Fukushima is expected to be below 10 mSv, over the course of a lifetime. In comparison, the dosage of background radiation received over a lifetime is mSv. According to a linear no-threshold model LNT model , the accident would most likely cause cancer deaths. In April , studies confirmed the presence of radioactive tuna off the coasts of the Pacific U. However, the amount of radioactivity is less than that found naturally in a single banana.
In June Tilman Ruff , co-president of the political advocacy group, the " International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War " argues that , people have been unable to return to their homes and ecological diversity has decreased and malformations have been found in trees, birds, and mammals.
Five years after the event, the Department of Agriculture from the University of Tokyo which holds many experimental agricultural research fields around the affected area has noted that "the fallout was found at the surface of anything exposed to air at the time of the accident. The main radioactive nuclides are now caesium and caesium ", but these radioactive compounds have not dispersed much from the point where they landed at the time of the explosion, "which was very difficult to estimate from our understanding of the chemical behavior of cesium".
In February , Japan renewed the export of fish caught off Fukushima's nearshore zone. According to prefecture officials, no seafood had been found with radiation levels exceeding Japan safety standards since April In , Thailand was the first country to receive a shipment of fresh fish from Japan's Fukushima prefecture. Srisuwan Janya, chairman of the Stop Global Warming Association, said the FDA must protect the rights of consumers by ordering restaurants serving Fukushima fish to make that information available to their customers, so they could decide whether to eat it or not.
In July , a robotic probe has found that radiation levels remain too high for humans to work inside one of the reactor buildings. The World Health Organization stated that a thyroid ultrasound screening program was, due to the screening effect , likely to lead to an increase in recorded thyroid cases due to early detection of non- symptomatic disease cases.
Tohoku earthquake and tsunami
A Russia Today report into the matter was highly misleading. In October , children from the Fukushima Prefecture were described as either being diagnosed with or showing signs of developing thyroid cancer. The study's lead author Toshihide Tsuda from Okayama University stated that the increased detection could not be accounted for by attributing it to the screening effect.
He described the screening results to be "20 times to 50 times what would be normally expected. However, despite his paper being widely reported by the media,  an undermining error, according to teams of other epidemiologists who point out Tsuda's remarks are fatally wrong, is that Tsuda did an apples and oranges comparison by comparing the Fukushima surveys, which uses advanced ultrasound devices that detect otherwise unnoticeable thyroid growths, with data from traditional non-advanced clinical examinations, to arrive at his "20 to 50 times what would be expected" conclusion.
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Wakeford's criticism was one of seven other author's letters that were published criticizing Tsuda's paper. In Ohira et al. Ohira et al. There were no significant associations between individual external doses and prevalence of thyroid cancer. External radiation dose was not associated with thyroid cancer prevalence among Fukushima children within the first 4 years after the nuclear accident.. A publication by Yamashita et al.
They noted that the mean age of the patients at the time of the accident was 10—15 years, while no cases were found in children from the ages of who would have been most susceptible. Yamashita et al. A investigation by Yamamoto et al. The average radiation dose-rates in the 59 municipalities of the Fukushima prefecture in June and the corresponding thyroid cancer detection rates in the period October to March show statistically significant relationships.
This corroborates previous studies providing evidence for a causal relation between nuclear accidents and the subsequent occurrence of thyroid cancer. Radiation deaths at Chernobyl were also statistically undetectable. Only 0. Data from Chernobyl showed that there was a steady but sharp increase in thyroid cancer rates following the disaster in , but whether this data can be directly compared to Fukushima is yet to be determined.
Chernobyl thyroid cancer incidence rates did not begin to increase above the prior baseline value of about 0. In the former Soviet Union , many patients with negligible radioactive exposure after the Chernobyl disaster displayed extreme anxiety about radiation exposure. They developed many psychosomatic problems, including radiophobia along with an increase in fatalistic alcoholism. As Japanese health and radiation specialist Shunichi Yamashita noted: . We know from Chernobyl that the psychological consequences are enormous. Life expectancy of the evacuees dropped from 65 to 58 years — not because of cancer, but because of depression , alcoholism, and suicide.
Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, Atomic Meltdown | The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
Relocation is not easy, the stress is very big. We must not only track those problems, but also treat them. Otherwise people will feel they are just guinea pigs in our research. A survey by the Iitate local government obtained responses from approximately 1, evacuees within the evacuation zone. The survey showed that many residents are experiencing growing frustration, instability, and an inability to return to their earlier lives. Sixty percent of respondents stated that their health and the health of their families had deteriorated after evacuating, while Summarizing all responses to questions related to evacuees' current family status, one-third of all surveyed families live apart from their children, while The survey also showed that A total of Stress often manifests in physical ailments, including behavioral changes such as poor dietary choices, lack of exercise, and sleep deprivation.
Survivors, including some who lost homes, villages, and family members, were found likely to face mental health and physical challenges. Much of the stress came from lack of information and from relocation. In a risk analysis , relying on the metric of potential months of life lost , it determined that unlike Chernobyl, "relocation was unjustified for the , people relocated after Fukushima", when the potential future deaths from exposure to radiation around Fukushima, would have been much less, if the alternative of the shelter in place protocol had instead been deployed.
According to reinsurer Munich Re , the private insurance industry will not be significantly affected by the disaster. In March , a Japanese court ruled that negligence by the Japanese government had led to the Fukushima disaster by failing to use its regulatory powers to force TEPCO to take preventive measures.
By March , one year after the disaster, all but two of Japan's nuclear reactors had been shut down; some had been damaged by the quake and tsunami. Authority to restart the others after scheduled maintenance throughout the year was given to local governments, which all decided against reopening them.
According to The Japan Times , the disaster changed the national debate over energy policy almost overnight. It also omitted a section on nuclear power expansion that was in the previous year's policy review. Michael Banach , the current Vatican representative to the IAEA, told a conference in Vienna in September that the disaster created new concerns about the safety of nuclear plants globally.
Auxiliary Bishop of Osaka Michael Goro Matsuura said this incident should cause Japan and other countries to abandon nuclear projects. He called on the worldwide Christian community to support this anti-nuclear campaign.