Fukushima nuclear plant opens river to fishing, attracting millions of visitors

A former nuclear plant turned nature reserve was listed by the government as one of its most popular tourist destinations on Monday.

Radioactive smog that blanketed Tokyo last week was caused by the opening of a river for fishing. Image

On Christmas Day, an air pollutant known as “radiation fog” fell to the ground near the Chiba City, where nuclear power plant disaster authorities based at Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Plant — which spilled radioactive material when a reactor overheated — have been busy clearing the landscape of all traces of such material, according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. Last week, groundwater at the facility, less than a mile from the sea, took on radioactivity that reaches 300 times normal levels. Such smells linger around the Fukushima Daiichi for miles.

Since the March 2011 accident, wild animals have recovered to such an extent that the world’s most deadly insect, the red-eyed crow, has been discovered in the city and governor of Chiba have written to wardens warning that they could face persecution if the population continues to grow unchecked.

To address the radioactive presence, water used for monitoring has been collected, with the Nuclear Regulation Authority establishing what it calls a “greatest-potential” criteria of 100,000 becquerels per liter. By comparison, the Chernobyl disaster released the equivalent of 20 million times more radioactive material.

Throughout the world, nuclear disaster authorities are working to ensure that such contamination does not spread. According to Chernobyl International Network, an environmental group, next-of-kin, federal, local, and regional governments, and scientists have started to map all of the surrounding natural resources and ecosystems, including the risk to human health.

NRC general director Junichi Matsumoto said in an interview with Asahi Shimbun that “the waters around Fukushima Daiichi are very sensitive, because that is where the large quantity of hydrogen was generated when the reactor broke down and produced a ‘thermal soup’ that created both heat and radiation.” In the event of another nuclear accident, the agency has already begun preparing for deployment of decontamination vehicles, hydrogen plants, and command centers.

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Read the full story at New York Times.


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