Fukushima: Three Years Later

When the worst earthquake in Japan’s history pulverized its northern coastline in 2011, walls of saltwater surged over four of six nuclear reactors located on the Fukushima coast. Though they were supposedly designed to withstand the worst quake imaginable, three reactors had outright meltdowns. Within hours, one of the melt-throughs exploded, spewing lethal radioactive waste. Some eighteen thousand and five hundred souls died. Three years later, the six reactors at Fukushima have produced 14,225 spent fuel rods, all of which are stored in cooling water in large steel tanks at the reactor sites. To underscore the lethal potential of this situation, a single exposed spent fuel rod will kill a man in four seconds. Fukushima has proved a chilling education about the incompetence, irresponsibility and arrogance of those in charge of repairing and cleaning it up. Worse, its lessons have not spurred action to combat the potential catastrophe of the spent fuel rods.

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