An Illustrated Look At The Fukushima Disaster, One Year Later

A beautiful new video offers sobering facts about the recovery efforts—but also hope that things can, one day, return to normal.

It has been just over a year since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that triggered a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The triple disaster killed tens of thousands of Japanese residents and left even more homeless, unleashed massive amounts of debris into the ocean (some of which may be heading to American shores), triggered the release of radioactive particles that have ended up in the Japanese food supply (radiation exceeding safety levels has been found up to 200 miles away from from the Fukushima nuclear plant), and spurred a worldwide debate on the safety of nuclear power.

While Japan is sinking $14 billion into cleanup through March 2014, decontaminating the Fukushima area will still take decades. Even people living as far away as Tokyo are still concerned about radiation exposure. Whether the nuclear disaster will lead to a marked increase in cancer remains to be seen.

Pictures of the disaster’s aftermath are widespread. This video offers an alternative perspective: an illustrated look at Japan post-quake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. It’s disturbing, but ultimately hopeful. What other choice is there but to have hope in the face of a disaster this large?

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  • Paul Richards

    "decontaminating the Fukushima area will still take decades" ARIEL The groundwater in the region is contaminated, water draining into the artisian caves and streams is carrying contamination. Local trees, springs and water runoff continue to carry contaminate through the hydrologic or H20 cycle. In blossom trees having pumped up water all year spread breathable pollen, carrying gene altering cesium and recontaminating "decontaminated" areas. How can decontamination of underground water ever be done to prevent this year in year out cycle? It is impossible. After the one and only decontamination of soil by the government, layers of cesium will build on the surface from pollen washing back through the hydrologic cycle into groundwater, cycling indefinatly. Can we actually say the Japanese people can decontaminate any of the region? Is this talk of "decontaminating" just misinterpreting damage to the earth systems and limiting liability of TEPCO and the Japanese Government?"Decontaminating" in the Fukishima context is an oxymoron and weasel word.  It will not take decades, it can never happen. 

  • Paul Richards

    Further - how is decontaminated soil being managed?

    By burying it below the topsoil, leaving to join the hydrologic cycle and washing into groundwater. Generally in the Fukushima area, as no prefecture wants it.