Today marks the sixth anniversary of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, a disaster that not only wounded a community, leaving around 20,000 dead, but caused colossal global environmental damage resulting in the largest recorded nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
At 3:36pm on Friday, March 11th, 2011, Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, north of Tokyo, was hit by a 15m high tsunami, triggered by an enormous magnitude 9 earthquake that erupted on the Pacific coast of Tōhoku.
As an unprecedented disaster for the plant, the cooling systems quickly began to perform as they should, under emergency and, to avoid water contamination, two of the three plants exploded releasing radioactive emissions into the atmosphere with the careful and dedicated assistance of scientists who risked their lives and wellbeing to manage the collateral nuclear damage, having no choice but to avoid ocean pollution and release the fumes into the atmosphere.
However, despite the scientists dedication, bravery and selflessness, one of the three plants began to melt uncontrollably, spilling into the ground and out to the ocean, causing radioactive aerosol dispersion that still leaks up to 300 tons of radioactive waste into the ocean, every day, and will continue to do so while the plant temperature is still inaccessible to robots and humans.
The main radioactive component of the Fukushima disaster was radionuclides Cesium 134 Cs and 137 Cs, with so called “non toxic” amounts of Cesium detected in tuna in the Eastern Pacific. Also, swiftly after the disaster, fish in Canada began bleeding from their gills, mouths and eyeballs with some species decimated such as the North Pacific Herring.
With no end in sight for the radioactive waste, spilling from the third plant, and scientists monitoring the plantation daily, 27,000 evacuees who fled from their homes, are now being urged to return with housing subsidies withdrawn by the government.
However, the premature return mission proves lethal, with Fukushima still early in it’s recovery from radioactive contamination, the region still remains over the maximum public exposure limit recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, which leaves the 27,000 evacuees forced to return unwillingly causing unimaginable worry for their long term health, not to mention the task of rebuilding their disaster stricken homes around contaminated ground.
Since the evacuation in 2011 the ecosystem of Fukushima has also changed drastically and the land, a ghost town that once inhabited a thriving community, is now home to some 13,000 thousand wild boar.
The boars came down from the mountains to thrive on the wasteland breeding and spreading in vast numbers, where cattle and livestock were sadly abandoned to die.
Today the boars are tragically being massacred in mass numbers, quicker than they can be buried, causing yet more concern over radioactive mass graves with the government themselves stating that they are running out of land, in the region, for burials.
Professional teams of hunters have been deployed in Fukushima, using guns, traps and drones yet they are still outnumbered by the new boar residents.
Attempts have also been made to burn the culled bodies, while there is not enough workforce to incinerate the amount of boars in safe cesium burning facilities.
Of course, here at WAN, we are always thinking ‘animal welfare first’ and it strikes us if anyone at Fukushima has considered a capture facility to provide a natural, and death free solution and, while fast tracking the return of its original inhabitants, the boars will tragically remain to be killed by the thousands.
Written by: DD Malone
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