10 years after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident

On March 11, 2011 a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred off of the Pacific coast of Japan’s Tōhoku region. It was the strongest earthquake in Japan’s history. When the earthquake struck, all of the operating nuclear reactors in the region automatically shut down as they were designed to. With the generators shut down, station power was being supplied from the electricity grid or back-up generators. The earthquake triggered a massive tsunami which was a moving wall of water that engulfed the land, sweeping aside people, buildings and infrastructure. About 20,000 people are presumed to have died during the tsunami. The tsunami also destroyed much of the electricity grid and breached the tsunami wall at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant making back-up generators inoperable. This left no power to remove the decay heat in the shutdown reactors. This natural disaster resulted in the partial meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station and one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. Thankfully no one has died as a direct result of the nuclear accident but over 100,000 people were evacuated and people did die from causes related to that evacuation. For some areas evacuation orders remain in effect. This disaster reminded all of us how powerful the forces of nature can be…

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