2011: Nuclear Disaster at Fukushima in Japan

2011: Nuclear Disaster at Fukushima in Japan
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 11 March 2011
  • While all four reactors automatically shut down at Fukushima II, at Fukushima I, which was closer to the epicenter, the situation was much worse. This plant has a total of six reactors and is one of the largest nuclear power plants in the world. Reactors 1, 2 and 3 overheated, and there was an explosion of accumulated hydrogen.

On this day is the anniversary of a serious accident in Japan that caused the worst nuclear disaster in history after Chernobyl. Namely, on 11 March 2011 at 14:46, local time, a magnitude 9.03 earthquake was recorded on the northern Japanese island of Honshu. The epicenter was under the sea, about 70 kilometers off the coast of Oshika Peninsula. It was the largest earthquake to hit Japan since measurements exist and one of the five most powerful in the world since record-keeping began.

A tsunami caused by the earthquake reached a height of over 40 meters at some places. The water carried by the tsunami even penetrated 10 kilometers inland at some points. It is interesting that, due to the earthquake, the entire Earth’s axis reportedly moved 10-25 cm from its previous position. The earthquake caused an automatic shutdown of as many as 11 nuclear reactors in the area of Japan.

Hardest hit were the nuclear plants Fukushima I and II. While all four reactors automatically shut down at Fukushima II, at Fukushima I, which was closer to the epicenter, the situation was much worse. This plant has a total of six reactors and is one of the largest nuclear power plants in the world. Reactors 1, 2 and 3 overheated, and there was an explosion of accumulated hydrogen.

There are theories that the explosion was planted. It is estimated that roughly one-sixth of the radiation present in Chernobyl went into the atmosphere. The area within 30 kilometers of the plant was evacuated, and the area within a 20-kilometer zone was declared forbidden to enter. During the earthquake and tsunami a total of 15,850 people were killed. It is estimated that the total damage amounted to 235 billion dollars, what would make that the most expensive natural disaster in history.

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