A news report issued on September 3, 2013 indicated that the levels of radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant “have spiked by more than a fifth to their highest levels” since the damage caused to the plant by an earthquake on March 11, 201. That earthquake in the Pacific Ocean, and the resulting tsunami, devastated parts of Japan and permanently damaged the Fukushima plant. The plant was unable to properly cool the core after the earthquake and tsunami, and the significant amounts of radiation were released before the plant was shut down. According to the recent report, the levels of radiation near parts of Fukushima “would be enough to kill an unprotected person within hours.”
It is starting to become clear, roughly two years after the incident, that the problems associated with Fukushima are not going away any time soon, and will likely have a significant and far-reaching impact for decades, or even generations to come. News stories reporting in recent scientific studies show high radiation levels in the water, and in the fish, in the vicinity of the nuclear plant. Fukushima is just one of hundreds of nuclear power plants around the world, and the disaster there is demonstrating just how serious it can be when one plant has a major problem: radiation levels are still lethal near the plant, and the radiation is entering the food chain. It seems almost inevitable that there will be more accidents and disasters at other plants; the only question is when, not if, this will happen. The disaster at Fukushima serves as a warning of the dangers that await all of us if we continue to rely on nuclear power. Whether or not we will listen to that warning is a different matter.