Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

On 11 March 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, Japan, triggered the worst tsunami in recorded Japanese history. The tsunami waves reached up to 40 meters and traveled inland more then 10 kilometers. The earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15,000 people and destroyed entire towns and infrastructure along Japan’s eastern coast. In the Fukushima prefecture, the tsunami flooded the entire Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (located directly at the Pacific coast), causing explosions and fires and destroying the power lines that supplied the reactor cooling systems for the plant. As a result, reactors 1, 2, and 3 experienced full core meltdowns. The entire area was evacuated and high radiation levels have been detected in and around the Fukushima plant. The worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, the Fukushima nuclear disaster caused worldwide public concern and discussion about the safety and future of nuclear energy. As a result, many governments have been re-evaluating their existing nuclear power programs. Following the incident, the German government decided to shut down eight older nuclear plants immediately and to phase out nuclear power plants entirely by 2022.

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