Sendai, a city in northeast Japan with a population of 1 million people, was the worst-affected area. A 10 meter wave struck the city, deluging farmlands and sweeping houses and cars. To make matters worse, the heavy snowfall in the area is disrupting rescue operations and restoration work. Furthermore, a cold wave has swept the east coast area, thus increasing the distress of survivors. There has been a considerable loss of life and property, too. But at this time, the most growing concern is the radiation risk caused by the explosion of a nuclear power plant in Fukushima on March 12.
Power failure was the principal reason for this explosion. As the power was cut off, the cooling systems failed to work, causing the reactor core’s temperature to rise, which in turn led to a possible total meltdown. During the meltdown, pressure from inside the reactors was released, causing the nuclear fuel rods to be exposed to air. The cooling water has a chemical which reacted with Zirconium and formed hydrogen. This reaction caused the explosion of the outer walls. Radioactivity can cause serious health problems such as lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, leukemia, and other genetic disabilities. The level of radioactivity was detected at a level harmful to humans, 6600 times higher than usual in the area twenty kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Radioactive emissions can be absorbed by the human body and by plants, and by eating meat that come from animals which consumed contaminated plants. There is a growing fear that the water, milk and vegetables produced from around the Fukushima nuclear power plant are contaminated.
The exact amount of the damage has not yet been calculated but it is estimated at over $520 billion. Experts from Goldman Sachs, a leading brokerage firm in the international financial market, say the budget allocated for recovery from the earthquake is estimated at over $180 billion.
by Lee Jung-eun, Cub-reporter
Lee Jung-eun -
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