Ten years after a major tsunami washed away the east coast of Japan and failed safety systems at the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, the Japanese people are still trying to return to normal in a region battling the radioactivity caused by the Es, one of the worst nuclear accidents in history.
The chain of events that occurred at noon on March 11 as a result of an intense earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter scale left nearly 18,000 dead and a dire outlook that would call the safety of nuclear energy around the world into question.
Despite the fact that the facility’s security system responded appropriately after the earthquake – unlike what happened in Chernobyl in 1986 – waves about 15 meters high hit the facility, causing floods that resulted in three core meltdowns. Nuclear power plants and the release of large amounts of radioactive contamination.
Now, a decade later, scientists continue to find new particles that could be very dangerous to the population and that would have been released from one of the reactors at the Daiichi facility that collapsed in the accident.
According to a new study published by the journal Science of the Total Environment, the discovery of these new particles will help better understand the location of the disaster and provide information about the atmospheric conditions at the time the reactors exploded. The aim is therefore to determine the possible long-term health consequences.
In contrast to the Chernobyl accident, the particles released in Fukushima were mainly discharged into the sea and not into the atmosphere, which could significantly reduce the health risk. However, this has made the fisheries sector one of the main victims of the disaster in economic and labor law terms.
Hundreds of fishermen in the area hope that spring will return to normal and the industry will finally recover from the hard blow. In the first year after the earthquake, more than half of the fish caught had high levels of radioactive cesium isotope, exceeding the nationally set level.
Local fishmongers are hoping to finally resume their large-scale activities this year, especially starting next April, despite concerns from many members of the industry. Radioactive waste doesn’t help: the government plans to dump more than 1 million tons of treated waste into the sea.
Takashi Niitsuma, director of the Japanese Fisheries Association, in statements to The Japan Times newspaper, stressed his strong opposition to the publication of “contaminated water” at a time when the sector finally seems to be “seeing the light” at the end of the tunnel “.
Fishing off the Fukushima coast did not resume until June 2012, but fishermen had to regain credibility with local people and have been reluctant to buy fish since the disaster.
The nuclear accident in Fukushima showed the importance of establishing national and international safety standards and guidelines for safe nuclear energy.
In 2011, no one predicted that a tsunami would flood the nuclear power plant and cause a complete blackout that would render the emergency generators and electrical panels completely unusable underwater.
Thus, in the face of the disaster, the Japanese authorities, accused of not reacting quickly enough, had to use the batteries of dozens of vehicles to obtain a viable source of energy to control the situation.
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, emphasized that the nuclear disaster had, despite everything, made it possible to take measures worldwide to achieve greater security.
This has, as explained, encouraged the analysis and improvement of numerous reactors around the world and led to the implementation of quality controls, which were also carried out under the supervision of the agency itself. In addition, experts have come to the conclusion that in the event of a possible tsunami, safety systems should be installed at higher altitudes in order to protect the facilities from impending floods and to ensure the operation of the systems.
With this in mind, the Fukushima disaster has led to improvements in safety measures and regulations in this regard. “One of the most important lessons from Fukushima is that those who regulate the use of this energy must act independently and have adequate resources,” he said.
Grossi has therefore emphasized that “security regulation within the framework of the IAEA is of crucial importance”. “Nuclear safety is not an end in itself, but a means to an end,” he clarified before stressing that despite the setback it has suffered, this is “the key to expanding nuclear power”.
For his part, Philippe Jamet, from the French Nuclear Safety Authority, said it was important to have a plan to set up “an adequate means of transport to access the affected areas with personnel trained to deal with this type of incident” .
The new safety measures have already been implemented to eliminate any possibility of spillage or leakage due to similar incidents. According to Javier Yllera, Senior Nuclear Safety Officer at the IAEA, the new facilities are precisely designed to “counteract the possibility of major accidents”.
Although the scientific community continues to study the effects of radioactive contamination in Japan, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Study of the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) believes that there is insufficient evidence to confirm that the Fukushima disaster was one The Japanese population has caused an increased risk of cancer.
As stated in a report, the tsunami-struck radiation from the nuclear power plant has not statistically led to an increase in oncological disease “above normal”.
So scientists have found that the increase in thyroid cancer seen in more children over the past decade is not related to the increase in radiation in Fukushima. To this end, they have argued that other areas and countries with lower levels of exposure to radioactivity have also seen this type of cancer increase.
For the United Nations the event was a catastrophe, but “none of the radioactivity”, although the knowledge gained does not completely rule out the possibility that the thousands of victims of the cancer are again at increased risk due to the accident in Japan, which is being prepared this Thursday To remember disaster.