Environmental Disaster in Japan
It is hard describe just how badly the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 has affected the people of Japan. This double catastrophe has affected the people living in the coastal areas of the Tohoku region which is located in the northeastern coast of this country. The Japanese people have done everything possible to protect themselves from earthquakes and tsunamis by using technology to build structures that are resistant to the power of nature. However, nothing could prepare them for the assault of a wave that is now estimated to be more than 70 feet in height. It is projected that the death toll will top 18,000 people.
What makes this disaster even more chilling is that it has resulted in an environmental disaster that is still in the making. The physical damage to land and infrastructure that is caused by an earthquake and tsunami is usually cleared up in a couple of years because of the amount of aid that reaches a country where this has occurred. The Japanese government has to deal with another calamity in the making because of the presence of a crippled nuclear reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that has been damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in the Fukushima Prefecture has four nuclear reactors that are in danger of suffering a meltdown because the reactor cores are unable to get the water they need to cool down. The uranium fuel rods in the damaged reactor are heating up dangerously because there is no power to run the water pumps that cool them. Officials have tried to use sea water to cool it, and the US government has even had helicopters dumping sea water on it.
An explosion seems very likely and that will have dreadful results as everybody knows. People will die because of exposure to radiation, and it will be very difficult to contain the spread of air and steam carrying radioactive elements. Food and water will also be contaminated by it and the land around the reactor will be made useless for a very long time to come. Most recently the levels of contamination have shot up offshore of Japan. Radioactive iodine in the ocean surrounding the area of the reactors will, if it hasn’t already, damage fish supplies and marine life. The workers who are trying to fix the problem in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have being exposed to highly dangerous levels of radiation. This environmental disaster from the earthquake and tsunami is particularly hard for the Japanese to process considering their history with nuclear power.
People in Japan and around the world are now questioning if nuclear power is really a viable source of alternative energy considering the safety aspect when things go wrong.