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Fukushima: A Nuclear Disaster Essay

906 words - 4 pages

March 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm, the north-east coast of Japan suffered a magnitude nine earthquake that resulted in a tsunami. Millions of people were left homeless by the extensive damage. Cities were destroyed and many lives were lost, but worst of all the nuclear reactors in Fukushima could not withstand the powerful forces of the tsunami. Soon after the tsunami struck, millions of tons of radioactive water dumped into the pacific ocean, and onto the land. The destruction of the nuclear reactors has had many effects on the ecosystem, human health, and the economy.
Primarily, the Fukushima disaster has caused negative effects on the ecosystem. Eight hundred square kilometres near the nuclear plant have been declared too radioactive for human habitation; these areas are called exclusion zones. When radioactive caesium is introduced to an ecosystem it contaminates the water, soil, plants, animals and maintains ownership of the land for centuries (Starr). Further, radioactive caesium bioaccumulates as it moves up the food chain. Bioaccumulation refers to the build up of chemicals in an organism which can be dangerous for human consumption. Forty percent of bottom dwelling fish such as halibut and cod were found to have exceeding radioactive levels than regulatory limits. As a matter of fact, the Fukushima disaster is the largest discharge of radioactive material into the ocean in history (Starr). Unfortunately, efforts to clean up are futile because water run-off continues to re-contaminates the land and ocean. Also, many areas are still too radioactive to work in. Currently, reactor four is still in tact; however, if Japan is struck with another magnitude six plus earthquake, the reactor will be destroyed and will cause a world crisis. Almost the entire population of Japan would have to relocate. A concern for many people is that Japan is prone to many earthquakes a year; therefore, the chances of nuclear disaster are high. Not only does the radiation effect the land, but it also effects humans individually in many ways.
Since March 2011, the lives of many Japanese people have changed dramatically. Over 150,000 people had to be evicted from the exclusion zones. During the eviction, approximitly 1,600 people lost their lives (Cuttler). Many of those who survived still make mortgage payments on the homes that they do not live in. Equally important, the radiation is effecting human health. Radioactive caesium has been found in spinach, tea leaves, milk, beef, and fresh water fish up to two hundred miles from Fukushima (Yamiguchi). In humans, radiation builds up in the heart, kidneys, small intestine, pancreas, spleen and liver. Also, the process of accumulation occurs much faster in children than adults. Surprisingly, the United Nations Scientific Community released a statement saying...

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