Japan – Fukushima: The earthquake 9 Richter, the deadly tsunami and the mystery that covers the nuclear tragedy 13 years later

The complete thirteen years since the triple disaster of 11 March 2011, when one of the most powerful ever recorded on the planet caused a deadly tsunami, which in turn caused the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. News from distant Japan of an earthquake of 9 Richter caused global alarm and terror. And evil had just begun… The news of a huge tsunami struck the country’s coast followed. And then came the ultimate horror. The Fukushima Daichi nuclear power station in the region was left powerless. Thirteen years after the most serious nuclear accident in modern history after Chernobyl, at the Fukushima facility, the unanswered questions are still many, mainly for the effects of major destruction and toxicity within reactors. The earthquake in Japan shortened the day and changed the Earth One day today, at 14:46 noon (local time) on March 11, 2011 Japan is shocked by a terrifying earthquake of magnitude 9 Richter. The epicenter was located off Honsu Island. His focal depth was only 24.4 kilometers. The earth was shaking for six whole minutes! The vibration is felt throughout the country. Scared the residents run out of the buildings “dance” at the rhythms of the Richters. It was the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Japan and the fourth strongest earthquake in the world since 1900 when modern record keeping had begun. Many of the aftershocks that followed were larger than the seven Richters! Damage is enormous and terror is inconceivable. According to reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanoeology of Italy, the impact of the earthquake was so strong that the Earth axis was moved by 4 inches / 10 cm. Due to the March 11 earthquake the 24-hour day on Earth shortened by 1.8 microseconds, according to geophysical Richard Gross from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. What one follows cannot be imagined. A few minutes after the vibration the sirens warning of a tsunami began to sound. Authorities in the coastal cities announced an alarm and called on citizens to leave as quickly as possible and go to higher places. The earthquake caused strong tsunami waves that may have reached heights of up to 40.5 metres in Miyako in Ivate Prefecture, Tohoku and which, in the Sedai region, traveled 700 km per hour and up to 10 km inland. The residents of Sendai had only 8-10 minutes of warning and more than a hundred evacuation sites flooded. The tsunami swept the Japanese hinterland and killed over 15,000 people, mostly due to drowning, although blunt wounds also caused many deaths. Some time after rushing waves of height even 15 meters came ashore and began swallowing everything they found in front of them. Cities and entire villages were buried under tons of rushing waters. No one and nothing could stop this devastating tsunami. He swallowed houses, buildings, cars, ships. He even reached 20 kilometers inland. In fact the tsunami was much more destructive and far more deadly than the earthquake itself. A report from 2015 showed that 228,863 people were still living away from home to either temporary homes or due to permanent relocation. The explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant unfortunately the nightmare was not over yet. The tsunami caused nuclear accidents, mainly the level 7 collapse in three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex and the related evacuation zones hit hundreds of thousands of inhabitants The units of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the Fukushima region of Japan were left without electricity, resulting in the reactor’s heart being left uncooled and melted. Fuel ran out on many electric generators. The power loss stopped cooling systems, causing heat accumulation. Heat accumulation caused the production of hydrogen gas. Without ventilation, the gas accumulated within the reactor containment structures and eventually exploded The next day of the earthquake (12.03) the first explosion occurred in reactor No. 1. Then explosions occurred in other reactors. A large release of radioactivity into the environment followed and significant radiological pollution leading to a decision to evacuate within a 20 km radius around the station. The nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, is one of the largest accidents that have ever occurred in the nuclear industry and was categorized at level 7 on the INES scale (International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale), at the same level as the Chernobyl accident in 1986! The area was declared in a state of emergency and the evacuation of dwellings was ordered within a radius of several kilometres as the levels of radioactivity recorded were far above the permissible limits. In terms of casualties, the National Police Agency in Japan confirmed 15,899 deaths, 6.157 injured and 2,529 missing in twenty prefectures. In addition, about 3,000 additional deaths have been identified as “shock-related deaths” and thus the total number of deaths caused by the disaster amounted to 19,575. Of the 13,135 deaths recorded by 11 April 2011, 12,143 or 92.5% were due to drowning. Of the total confirmed victims, 14,308 drowned, 667 crushed or died of internal injuries and 145 died of burns. Estimatedly, the economic cost of the losses in Japan reached $4.6 billion and there was a global response. The United Nations has announced that they are ready to send at least 30 rescue teams to the affected areas. They were ready to offer assistance, said Russia and France. The humanitarian crisis and the economic impact were inconceivable. The tsunami resulted in more than 340,000 displaced in the Tohoku region and a lack of food, water, shelter, drugs and fuel for survivors. Japan’s coastal cities and towns were left with nearly 25 million tons of debris. 13 years later they search the reactors for what is within Thirteen years after nuclear destruction, the head of the area’s cleanup project around the Fukushima nuclear power station says his team is struggling to get a sample of the heart of radioactive debris in the area. The effort to clean the remains of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been in progress for years, with participants in the investigations preparing to remove fuel residues from the station reactors in order to “show” what is inside them, which remains a mystery to date. The ensuing earthquake and tsunami destroyed Fukushima Daichi plant’s cooling systems, causing three of its reactors to melt, releasing radiation and ousting thousands of residents from their homes. Some areas near the factory are still uninhabitable The key to solving this mystery is a sample of molten fuel from the inside of a reactor, said Akira Ono, head of the decommissioning department of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, in . About 880 tons of melted nuclear fuel with high radiation remain within the three damaged reactors, but no one knows what condition the molten fuel is in or exactly where it fell into the reactors. These data are vital to making a plan for their safe abolition, Ono said. A 2019 robot detector first looked into reactor number 2 – the least damaged. TEPCO tries to extract a small amount of molten debris using a robotic arm. This effort has delayed over two years as the team processes how to get the robot through the debris. The team’s next attempt will be made in October, using a previously tested device that resembles “kalamis fishing” to take out a preliminary sample, while awaiting technical improvements in the robotic arm, Ono said. Last month, the plant performed the first drone flight to the reactor most affected, reactor No. 1, to investigate the molten debris, but was forced to cancel the second day of exploration, after a secondary robot helping transmit data failed. “We are new to these things and sometimes we encounter unforeseen errors on the ground. But they are all valuable lessons for our next steps,” said Ono. Critics say the 30-40-year-old liquidation target set by the government and TEPCO is too optimistic. The lack of data, technology and plans on what will be done with the deadlyly radioactive melted fuel and other nuclear waste makes it difficult to have a clear picture of how the plant complex and its environment can end when cleaning is done. Last August, the factory began to reject processed water at sea, which Ono said was an important step forward. If the next sample recovery effort from reactor No. 2 succeeds, it will be “a huge step” and “a significant step change”, he said. Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is currently releasing a fourth batch of 7,800 tons of water. So far, the results of daily seawater sampling meet safety standards, but the controversial plan has faced protests from local fishermen and neighbouring countries, notably China, which has banned imports of Japanese seafood. TEPCO completed removing all spent fuel rods from a cooling tank in reactor No. 4 in 2014 and from reactor tank No. 3 in 2021. It plans to complete the removal of bars from tanks No. 1 and No. 2 by 2031.