Fukushima Daiichi Disaster

Written at SFSU 2017

On March 11, 2011 a magnitude 9 earthquake right off the coast of japan caused the fission reactors of the nuclear power plant to shut down which wouldn’t have been a problem if the following tsunami didn’t shut off the backup generators[1] the power plant had. This lead to 3 nuclear meltdowns resulting in the biggest nuclear disaster sense Chernobyl[[2]. Hopefully this article will show that due to negligence of the Tokyo Electric Power Company or Tepco has become a resource curse for the people of the Fukushima prefecture.

Fukushima Daiichi incident 


According to a report now made public by the green cross, up to 32 million people living in japan were effected by the nuclear fallout whether[3] it be near by exposure to high radiation or distant lingering radiation. The report also says that around 400,000 people got evacuated 160,000 being within the 20km danger zone are now living in project style homes and up to 40% of them were living away from family that they used to live with before the event[4]. One of the worsts parts is that now, more than 5 years after the blast the government is going to stop giving subsidies to those living inside the blast-zone forcing many women and children to move back to harsh living conditions[5].


Tepco failed to reach the required safety requirements before the earthquake and tsunami even though they had known they were not up to code[6]. Tepco has made moves when it comes to clean up, including creating a robot to help navigate the territories where people can no longer reach which didn’t start until fairly recent[[7]. They have a 30 year schedule to clean up the area. This is going to cost them billions which probably wont be a problem for a corporation that makes close to 400billion[8] every year; instead the citizens living in the Fukushima prefecture are the ones that are affected


Radiation levels in the blast-zone

TEPCO didn’t take their jobs seriously to the point where they took the wellbeing of there employees and everyone that even lived near the power plant into consideration. In a 20km or roughly 12-mile radius around the plant people had to evacuate their homes[9] with no hope of returning, at least anytime soon. Another 10km out from that zone is where its advised to stay indoors[10]. Although the report made by the green cross states that unlike the devastating aftermath of Chernobyl majority of the radiation is going into the ocean instead of back over the country[11].


It wasn’t until just recently, in august 2017, that Tepco started removal of soil and the testing of radiation levels for areas that citizens were worried about and it was only due to the request of the Ministry of the Environment according to there own website[12]. Even though the event took place almost 6 years ago. Even with a loss of 7.4 billion dollars they still net 400billion a year[13]. Meaning they continue to benefit while the citizens still have nowhere to go.


[1] Perkins, R. (n.d.). Fukushima disaster was preventable, new study finds. RetrievedOctober 16, 2017, from https://news.usc.edu/86362/fukushima-disaster-was-preventable-new-study-finds/

[2] Samet, J. M., MD, Thorton, F. L., & Chanson, D., MPH. (2015). The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident. How many people wereaffected.doi:10.1787/9789264205048-en

[3] Samet et al, March 2015

[4]  Samet et al, March 2015

[5]  McCurry, J. (2017, March 10). Fukushima evacuees face ‘forced’ return as subsidies withdrawn. Retrieved October 16, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/10/japan-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-evacuees-forced-return-home-radiation

[6]  Perkins, R (n.d.), 2017

[7]  TEPCO. (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2017, from http://www.tepco.co.jp/fukushima_hq/decontamination/index-j.html

[8]  TEPCO 2017

[9]  Samet et al, March 2015

[10]  Samet et al, March 2015

[11]  Samet et al

[12]  TEPCO 2017

[13]  TEPCO 2017



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