Devastating Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster
The accident was given the International Nuclear Event Scale Level 7 classification.
On March 11, 2011, the Tōhoku magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. The incident affected the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, one of the 15 largest nuclear power stations in the world, located in the towns of Ōkuma and Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
This resulted in the most severe nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The event would come to be the only other disaster to be given the International Nuclear Event Scale Level 7 classification.
The plant suffered major damage and radiation leaks and saw several of its reactors destroyed. The nuclear plant previously boasted six boiling water reactors that drove electrical generators with a combined power of 4.7 GWe.
Radiation released in the atmosphere forced Japanese authorities to declare the 20 km evacuation zone a no-go area. About 154,000 residents were evacuated due to airborne radioactive contamination from the damaged reactors.
Water contaminated with radioactive isotopes was also released into the Pacific Ocean. In September of 2019, Japan’s environment minister further revealed that Tokyo Electric Power might be running out of space to store the contaminated water and would have to dump it in the Pacific Ocean by 2022.