The Fukushima Daiichi Accident was a level 7 (rated on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale) nuclear reactor meltdown accident that began on the 11th of March 2011. This was due to a 15-meter-tall tsunami impacting the power plant and disabling the power and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors owned by TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Incorporated). This caused all three to melt down in the first three days of the accident. This accident led to the evacuation of over 100,00 people from the area who have not been able to return to this day.
“The TEPCO Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties. They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly ‘manmade,’. We believe that the root causes were the organizational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions, rather than issues relating to the competency of any specific individual.” This was a quote from the Kurokawa report, otherwise known as the Summary of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission Report. The report noted flaws in the design of the plant, where the sea walls were not tall enough to prevent the flooding of the facility, the report also stated that, “The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was in a vulnerable condition with no guarantee it could withstand earthquakes and tsunamis.” This was countered by a TEPCO report, where it stated that an earthquake and tsunami of that size could not possibly have been foreseen. The commission’s report then states: “Despite having a number of opportunities to take measures, regulatory agencies and TEPCO management deliberately postponed decisions, did not take action or took decisions that were convenient for themselves.” and then the report goes on saying that if TEPCO had its way it would have evacuated all the facility staff to allow for escalation of the disaster. It had been very clear that the Fukushima Daiichi disaster had been escalated due to the error of TEPCO and the Japanese government, but what has happened now that this turned into a crime against humanity?
Since the disaster, TEPCO has been pumping water into the reactors for a cooling process, meaning that water is being contaminated and stored by TEPCO in large containment tanks around the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. This wastewater has accumulated to over thirty-five million cubic feet, prompting TEPCO and the Japanese Government to choose to discharge the water into the pacific to save costs of storage. Claiming to filter the water after a two-stage filtration system, which still might miss out on radioactive nuclides, Japan has started the dumping on August 23rd, 2023, after protests in local fishermen communities and civilians in South Korea. Cries of outrage from China can also be noted as a Chinese foreign minister criticizes Japan using the ocean as its “private sewer”. Starting from the date of the dump, China has banned all Japanese seafood, which heavily impacted the Japanese fisherman economy, as China is one the largest importers of Japanese seafood.
TEPCO had not studied all the environmental impacts of this dumping and started in a selfish capitalistic manner to save costs, regardless of the public health and safety of its citizens and citizens around the world. This discharge is set to last over thirty years, with only one-third of the water purified so far. This water is estimated to reach the US waters in five to six years following pacific water currents, the hydrologic cycle means that this water will also contaminate freshwater resources in landlocked areas in the form of rainfall. The Japanese Government along with TEPCO has completely disregarded human life and the environment by releasing nuclear wastewater with unknown environmental impacts onto the ocean, an important food source and economy for billions, possibly endangering the future of humanity.
Al Jazeera. “Japan Says Fukushima Disaster Was ‘Man-Made.’” Al Jazeera, 5 July 2012, www.aljazeera.com/news/2012/7/5/japan-says-fukushima-disaster-was-man-made. Accessed 25 Nov. 2023.
Diaz-Maurin, François. “Why Japan Should Stop Its Fukushima Nuclear Wastewater Ocean Release.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 30 Oct. 2023, thebulletin.org/2023/09/why-japan-should-stop-its-fukushima-nuclear-wastewater-ocean-release/. Accessed 25 Nov. 2023.
“Fukushima Daiichi Accident.” Fukushima Daiichi Accident – World Nuclear Association, world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-daiichi-accident.aspx. Accessed 25 Nov. 2023.
“Japanese Government Held Liable for First Time for Negligence in Fukushima.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 17 Mar. 2017, www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/17/japanese-government-liable-negligence-fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-disaster#:~:text=The%20report%2C%20published%20in%202012,to%20powerful%20earthquakes%20and%20tsunamis. Accessed 25 Nov. 2023.
Why Fukushima Was Preventable – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, carnegieendowment.org/2012/03/06/why-fukushima-was-preventable-pub-47361. Accessed 26 Nov. 2023.
“世界观: 福岛核废水多久到美国？可能不是57天.” 中国日报网, cn.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202104/14/WS60763c1ca3101e7ce9748ff4.html.
The National Diet of Japan: The Official Report of Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission: Executive Summary. National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, 2012.