Fukushima Nuclear Disaster - Atahan Tümer

It has been ten years since the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Disaster occurred. This disaster, which affected the region considerably, continues its effects today. The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, which was damaged by a tsunami caused by a major earthquake in Japan, is still at the center of controversy today. The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Disaster, which caused the question of nuclear energy by creating a similar effect even though it occurred years after Chernobyl, brings questions to all of us about the reliability of nuclear energy. Although it was built in a geography such as Japan where earthquake disaster would be met as a reality of life, the inadequacy of the measures taken shows us many things about the question we ask. This disaster, in which more than 300 thousand people were evacuated and thousands of people were exposed to high radiation levels, unfortunately, caused deaths. People who were deprived of their homes ten years after the disaster still have not returned to their homes. Only 1 out of every 20 people was able to return home. This reveals the scale of the disaster and makes us rethink the reliability of nuclear energy. So much so that several employees working in this power plant died or became cancer due to radiation after the accident.

There is another problem that has brought this disaster back to our agenda in recent years. This is the question of what to do with wastewater. A wastewater problem arose due to the cooling of the damaged reactors with water. There have been heated debates on this issue for years. Many people were concerned about the decision to be made. Environmental groups have been demonstrating on this issue for a long time and expressed fear that the decision to be made could harm the environment. Even environmentalists in South Korea expressed their desire for a solution that would not harm nature by taking action on this issue. It is quite possible to understand this concern raised when the damage caused to the environment by the Chernobyl disaster is still evident years later, and the damages of Fukushima have not been eliminated.

The Japanese Government made a decision recently to clarify this issue. The decision of the Government, which decided to discharge the wastewater into the ocean, upset many people. Although the evacuation of this water is an inevitable end, it has brought many reactions.

Environmentalists, especially in Japan and South Korea, reacted to the decision by making demonstrations about it. It was stated that the water with radioactive materials would be discharged into the sea, causing many harms to nature and people living in the region. Also, it is thought that the fishing industry, which is of great importance in Japan, will suffer. All these reasons show that the reactions are justified. But could there be another less damaging solution, which is another matter of debate. When we consider all these together, the reliability of nuclear energy worries people again and again.

Even a country like Japan that has made the earthquake one of the realities of life and has taken advanced measures in this regard, experiencing such a problem due to the earthquake is perhaps the most important factor that causes people to express their fears. Although the tsunami effect has been considered in this disaster, the resulting tsunami wave is almost three times larger than the tsunami wave at the power plant, questioning the seriousness of these measures. Of course, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake is not predictable, and it is not an event that can be actionable beforehand. However, considering the sensitivity of nuclear energy and the damage it causes as a result of a possible disaster, it becomes clear that even an event that has not been observed for millions of years should be taken into account. These are all consequences we have to draw from Fukushima.

Fukushima, which was still at the center of the debate in its 10th year and whose damages have not been recovered, is still discussed today. These discussions continue not only on the Fukushima Disaster but on the reliability of nuclear energy. While new plants are being built in many countries worldwide, some plants are waiting like a bomb ready to explode.

The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant in Armenia in the Eastern border of Turkey is described as the world's most dangerous nuclear power plant by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union. The power plant, which was built using the same technology like nuclear power plants such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, worries the region's people. Another factor that increases the danger is that it is located on the fault lines and was severely damaged in past earthquakes and closed for a while. The only thing we can do is call for action on this issue. After seeing disasters such as Fukushima and Chernobyl, we can only work for safer operation of active power plants. Humanity has reached nuclear as the most advanced stage of technology in energy. To ensure that this technology benefits humankind and does not cause disaster, the only thing the authorities can do is to think about human health, not their interests.