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Fukushima I nuclear accidents

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The Fukushima I nuclear accidents occurred in Japan during the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. A significant amount of radioactive material was released into the atmosphere and a large number of residents were evacuated from surrounding areas.

"There is talk of an apocalypse and I think the word is particularly well chosen... Practically everything is out of control. I cannot exclude the worst in the hours and days to come." - ,” European Energy Commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, speaking to EU ministers.[1]

Workers at the plant voluntarily exposed themselves to potentially fatal radiation levels, one of them saying "We are not afraid to die."[2]


Several factors contributed to the Fukushima I nuclear accidents:

  • Poor location close to the sea and very close to sea level. This made certain Japanese plants unprepared for a catastrophic earthquake plus tsunami (in an area where such catastrophes are known to be possible).
  • Lack of preparedness of pumps - some pumps had been inoperable for years[verification needed]
  • An unexpectedly large earthquake and tsunami - or to be more accurate, an inadequate safety margin.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. Reported by London's Daily Telegraph newspaper, described at: EU energy chief: Japan situation ‘out of control’ MarketWatch, March 16, 2011.
  2. Fukushima heroes: Not afraid to die, CBS News, March 15, 2011.

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