10 years of Fukushima
On 11 March 2011, a tsunami caused a meltdown in units 1, 2 and 3 of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. According to the Japanese supervisory authority, mainly iodine-131 and caesium-137 were released, with radioactive contamination at about one tenth of the amount released in Chernobyl. Millions were able to follow the path of the radioactive cloud. Fukushima - and Chernobyl as early as 1986 - have shown the world the catastrophic potential of nuclear power.
In Japan, 54 reactors in 17 nuclear power plants were in operation at the time of the Fukushima disaster. The government initially took all nuclear reactors off the grid. Nine are now back in operation, 24 others have been shut down since the disaster, but are still in a kind of sand-by mode because the operators have applied for them to be restarted. Only 20 of the 54 nuclear reactors have now been shut down for good.
On the occasion of the sad anniversary, the ZEIT reports that ten years after the disaster, around 4000 people are still busy with clean-up work on the power plant site, "an army of contract workers in radiation protection suits". They are trying to recover "the toxic heart of the power plant, a lumpy, highly radioactive mixture of nuclear fuel, steel and concrete - the remains of the melted fuel rods. Anyone who gets too close to the mixture succumbs to the consequences of radiation sickness: burns, internal bleeding, multi-organ failure.
"More than 80 percent want the end of the nuclear age," says Japanese anti-nuclear activist Aileen Mioko Smith, "some immediately, others as soon as possible. Most are afraid for their future and that of their children." Aileen Mioko Smith was awarded the Nuclear Free Future Award in 2016.
In commemoration of Fukushima, Anna Kakutia (violin), Juan Sebastián Ruiz (double bass) and Masako Ohta (piano) performed the programme "Songlines" at Munich's Kulturzentrum Schwere Reiter. The concert can be watched and listened to again at any time under the following link: "Songlines" programme in commemoration of Fukushima.