The Earthquake and Recovery Projects in Fukushima
On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake occurred and the coastal areas of Fukushima were struck by a tsunami.
The tsunami caused an accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, resulting in the release of radioactive substances that had an extremely severe impact on a wide area.
We have been carrying out environmental restoration projects with a scale and methods never before seen in the world.
It has been 10 years, and the projects for environmental restoration and recovery are still continuing today.
Great East Japan Earthquake
14:46 on March 11, 2011: The Great East Japan Earthquake
Earthquake and tsunami
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake with a seismic intensity level of 6 – 7 occurred. It was one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the history of Japan. The earthquake was centered offshore of the Sanriku Region at a depth of around 24 km. It produced a giant tsunami that struck the Pacific coast of Japan centered on Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures.
Accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
The tsunami produced by this earthquake resulted in an accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
Environmental contamination by radioactive substances
The radioactive substances that were released in to the atmosphere fell in rain and other precipitation onto the ground, buildings, and trees, contaminating the soil and generating contaminated waste.
Immediately reducing the impact of this contamination by radioactive substances on human health and the living environment was an issue of the greatest urgency.
Environmental restoration projects for Fukushima environmental restoration and recovery
The Act on Special Measures Concerning the Handling of Radioactive Pollution was passed (taking effect January 1, 2012) in order to immediately reduce the impact on human health and the living environment. Based on this law, work for decontamination and treatment of contaminated waste was carried out with the cooperation of many persons.
Steps were taken such as removing objects with adhering radioactive substances or covering them with shielding in order to reduce the effects of radiation on people and the environment.
The removed soil and other waste that was produced by decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture is safely and centrally managed and stored at intermediately storage facilities.
Intermediate storage facilities
Recycling and final disposal
Compacting technologies for reducing waste volume were developed and projects related to recycling were carried out in preparation for transporting removed earth and other materials from within Fukushima Prefecture to the final disposal sites outside the prefecture.
Recycling of removed earth and other materials
* The value of 8,000 becquerels/kg is equal to the upper-limit concentration for radioactive waste that can be disposed of in conventionally managed landfills without additional protective measures. The additional radiation dose received by nearby residents and workers is less than 1 mSv per year.
Working towards recycling and final disposal: Example of a verification project
Recycling verification project in Naganuma District of Iitate Village
(Started Nov. 2018))
Removed soil from a temporary storage facility in the village is recycled and used as a resource for test cultivation of flowers, vegetables, and other produce in a raised earth test yard.
* The results from measurement of radioactive cesium in food crops were 0.1 – 2.3 becquerels/kg, well below the standard of 100 becquerels/kg for radioactive substances in ordinary food.