An Ecological Assessment of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster of 2011 The effect of radiation on the economy, ecology, and society. Name: Anthropology: Culture, Society, & Technology Date: 06/16/2011 Table of Contents Introduction 2 The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster 2 The Ecological Impact 5 The Economic Effect 7 The Social Consequences 8 An Ecological Assessment 9 An Anthropological Assessment 10 Conclusion 12 Sources Cited 13 Introduction The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered a critical breakdown of operations following an earthquake and tsunami that occurred off the coast of Japan on March 11th, 2011…
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The Fukushima Daiichi facility was apparently unable to withstand the dual shocks of the earthquake and tsunami within a short timeframe and entered into a situation which can be described as nuclear meltdown of the reactors. The information about the Fukushima disaster was initially limited and possibly misrepresented by TEPCO and Japanese government administrators in order to downplay publicly the degree of seriousness of the situation, and this has led to difficulties in academic or public verification of the ecological and social threats that the meltdown portends for Japan. It is not overestimating the situation to state that in the worst instance a significant portion of Japan could have become uninhabitable due to the disaster, and currently there is an evacuation zone in effect around the facility. This essay will examine the ongoing nature of the Fukushima Disaster, highlighting the fact that the facility may still not have been properly brought under control and the degree of uncertainty that exists because of this in determining the over-all consequences of the event. The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster There is now little doubt that a full nuclear meltdown occurred at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan this year. According to Julian Ryall in an article published in the Telegraph as "Nuclear meltdown at Fukushima plant" (12 May 2011), “Engineers from the Tokyo Electric Power company (Tepco) entered the No.1 reactor at the end of last week for the first time and saw the top five feet or so of the core's 13ft-long fuel rods had been exposed to the air and melted down. Previously, Tepco believed that the core of the reactor was submerged in enough water to keep it stable and that only 55 per cent of the core had been damaged. Now the company is worried that the molten pool of radioactive fuel may have burned a hole through the bottom of the containment vessel, causing water to leak. ’We will have to revise our plans,’ said Junichi Matsumoto, a spokesman for Tepco. ‘We cannot deny the possibility that a hole in the pressure vessel caused water to leak’. Tepco has not clarified what other barriers there are to stop radioactive fuel leaking if the steel containment vessel has been breached. Greenpeace said the situation could escalate rapidly if ‘the lava melts through the vessel’.” (2011: p.1) One of the problems with the design of the Fukushima plant is that it had been storing depleted nuclear fuel rods on the same site as the reactor, cooled with water. After becoming exposed, this fuel may have added to the critical mass of the meltdown reaction and also caused additional radiation to be released into the environment during the initial period of the disaster. The additional force of this reaction may have been sufficient to burn or melt through the very bottom containment layer of the reactor itself, the final protection layer that prevents a meltdown lava flow from entering the local environmental system through the earth and water systems. The use of sea water to flood and cool the reactor following the meltdown has inevitably led to groundwater radiation being released into
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It was a greatly manmade tragedy which might and must have been predicted and prevented. Introduction This report sets a number of faults and deliberate disregard that had the Fukushima power plant ill equipped for the happenings of March 11. This report also scrutinizes serious insufficiencies in the reaction to the calamity by government, regulators and the TEPCO.
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