As a result, today more than 80,000 residents remain evacuated across the country, with no immediate prospect of being able to return to their abandoned homes and businesses.
The impact on the local economy has been no less harsh, with local industries, farm produce and tourism all strongly affected by associations of the name Fukushima with “nuclear contamination”.
Faced with a litany of problems, challenges and delays, Tokyo Electric Power Co, operators of the nuclear plant, have spent months working to bring it into a state of cold shutdown and claim to have at last succeeded.
Achieving cold shutdown may mark an important milestone in the recovery process, however, it will not mean that Japan’s problems are over: it will simply mark the next chapter of a painfully long recovery process for the nation.
Removal of the fuel from the reactors could take another ten years, according to expert estimates, while a full decommissioning profess could also last several decades.
Meanwhile, residents will not automatically be allowed to return, as the region has been earmarked for a major clean-up, although the government recently confirmed that this may not be able to commence until March next year at the earliest.
In addition to the physical clean up of the area – which will involve painstaking industrial cleansing of all buildings and removal of topsoil – there are continued concerns in relation to food safety across the country.
While Japanese food produce was once synonymous with safety and high quality production, a string of food safety scares – from green tea and beef to rice and even baby milk formula – have resulted in a growing sense of distrust among the public for government contamination safety testing.
The next steps for the government? First, they must continue to find the funds to finance the clean up, the reconstruction, the financial support for displaced residents, the health testing of children and the compensation payments for all those affected.
But another big challenge that lies ahead in 2012 is the government’s stance in relation to nuclear power. Although faced with a growing public backlash against all things nuclear, the nation’s 54 reactors are already slowly making a comeback.
Last month (NOV), the utilisation ratio of the nation’s reactors rebounded to more than 20 per cent for the first time since the disaster, with a total of ten reactors back online.
Private companies, however, are increasingly tapping into the energy backlash, with a growing number of projects exploring alternative sources such as solar, wind and geothermal – all of which are likely to become increasingly visible in Japan after next year as a growing number of new high-tech eco-communities are reconstructed from the rubble of the March 11 disaster.
The Japanese 2011 Tsunami
844 WordsFeb 18th, 20183 Pages
Some are successful at doing this while other counties are less fortunate. Japan is a country known for natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. Over the years they have gained much knowledge of earthquakes and tsunamis, but did not put all of it to use. In the 2011 tsunami/earthquake, some damage could have been avoided if Japan were as prepared for the tsunami as they were for the earthquake. Japan should use what it already knows and learn from its experiences in order to prepare more effectively in case of a future natural disaster.
The 2011 tsunami/earthquake is an earthquake of a magnitude that has only been experienced a couple times. “A triple disaster — earth, water and nuclear — struck Japan on March 11, 2011, when the biggest earthquake in its history ripped the seafloor” (Oskin). An 8.9 magnitude shock was followed by a ten meter tsunami (Japan Marks 3rd Anniversary of Tsunami Disasters). Approximately 25,000 people died (Parker). This left families torn apart and devastated. Even though Japan is, “the most disaster-aware nation in the world” (Moore), it has still not prepared for the worst. The country was acceptably prepared (Parker).
Japan has spent decades studying earthquakes and tsunamis (Moore). All this knowledge did not go to waste. Japan is significantly prepared for earthquakes. In fact, most of the damage was caused by the tsunami and not the earthquake. One of the ways Japan is…