Fukushima Nuclear Disaster 5 Years On

FUKUSHIMA DISASTERMarch 11, 2011 is a day people living in Japan will remember for the rest of their lives.

At 2.46 p.m. a magnitude-9 earthquake struck 72km (45 miles) off the northeast coast of Japan, causing local damage as well as high-rise buildings 770km from the epicenter down in Osaka to sway for minutes. But the real destruction occurred an hour later when a tsunami came roaring in and devastated much of the coastline, sweeping inland as far as10km and reaching a run-up height of 39 meters (128 feet) in some areas.

The third whammy only became known that night, after it was announced that the tsunami had knocked out the electric power and backup generators at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO’s) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Afraid of a meltdown, the government ordered residents in the area to evacuate.

In the days following, there were hydrogen explosions in some of the reactor buildings, and much later we learnt three of the six reactors in the plant had indeed suffered partial meltdowns due to cooling system failures.

Now, on the fifth anniversary of what is known here as the Great East Japan Earthquake, how much progress has TEPCO and the government made in dealing with what was fundamentally a man-made disaster?

The answer is they continue to face the same four huge challenges they grappled with in 2011: dealing with contaminated water that has grown into a million-ton headache; locating and somehow retrieving the molten fuel debris; removing spent fuel rods from the damaged reactor storage pools; and disposing of millions of cubic meters of radioactive waste. To read more click here.

The 5th Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference will be held at Jupiters Gold Coast, QLD on the 30-31 May 2016.

The Conference theme ‘EARTH, FIRE and RAIN’ will continue to examine issues that impact preparedness, resilience, response and capability. To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

The 2016 Australian and New Zealand Search and Rescue Conference (ANZSAR); Land, Sea & Air will follow the Disaster and Emergency Management Conference on 1st June which aims to tackle the issues and challenges in Search and Rescue and continue the support of professional development in new training, techniques and requirements.

Special discount rates are being offered to those that wish to attend both Conferences. To register for both Conferences CLICK HERE.