Japan hops back onto the nuclear bandwagon
On 14 August, the Sendai No. 1 reactor in southern Japan will start generating power and reach its maximum capacity in September. A power plant operator in Japan, Kyushu Electric Power Co. confirmed the restart of a reactor. The restart comes with stricter regulations than was under the older system and ends Japan's 4.5 year nuclear power impasse since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear leak.
On 11 March 2011, after a major earthquake, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan. Four reactors were affected by the damage in the accident. The damage led to the release of radioactive materials on March 12. There were no deaths or cases of radiation sickness but approximately 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes.
Since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 (Ukraine), the Fukushima disaster is the largest nuclear disaster. It is also the 2nd disaster to measure level 7 (along with Chernobyl) on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
In the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, more than three-quarters of the radioactive substances fell into the ocean. 56% of all fish caught off Japan had been contaminated with radioactive cesium that was pumped into the ocean after the disaster. 40% of bottom dwelling fish's (sole, halibut, cod) radioactive cesium levels were much higher than Japanese regulatory limits.
3 years after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe more than 120,000 people from the region are living away from their homes. Members of the same families were living separately scattered across 2-3 sites. Moreover 67.5% of the evacuees showed signs of physical or psychological distress. The government has not yet allowed the evacuated people to return to their homes.
Almost £11bn has already been put in by the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), and its many partner firms for enlisting 6,000 workers to bring Fukushima contamination under control. Decommissioning the whole plant will cost around 10 Tn yen (£55Bn) and is expected to take approximately 40 years. So far, 500,000 tonnes of contaminated water has been collected and stored in 100 tanks.
The picture of mutant daisies with fused centres and sideway petals trended on Twitter and Instagram after a user @san_kaido posted the photo from Nasushiobara City, 70 miles from Fukushima in July 2015.
A judicial review panel in its verdict indicted 3 of the top executives of the Fukushima utility on charges of 'professional negligence'. The panel criticized chairman Katsumata and two others, blaming them for continuing operations without apt safety measures that led to the disaster. As a result, the three former executives will have to stand trial.