Typhoon Etau floods Fukushima site; thousands evacuated


Japan has a history clouded by natural disasters. The city of Nahara was evacuated in 2011, after a tsunami laid waste to three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. On September 11, 2015, Nahara’s evacuation notice was lifted. The timing could not have been worse. That same day, drainage pumps at the Fukushima site were overflooded by rain from Typhoon Etau, triggering an avalanche of evacuation notices.(1)

Residents of Nahara were cautious when returning to their decimated homes. Although radiation levels in Nahara fell within the “safe” range, many feared remnants of the toxic radiation still infested the region. The few residents who were brave enough to return were issued dosimeters, a stark reminder that the city was not free from the shackles of its history.(1)

Typhoon Etau claimed the lives of seven people with 15 still missing. After it made landfall last Wednesday, the storm migrated to the sea but continued to plague eastern parts of the country with heavy showers. The showers triggered flooding and mudslides. Authorities issued an evacuation notice for more than 90,000 residents sprinkled throughout parts of central Tochigi. An additional 116,000 residents were advised to leave their homes.(2)

When storms collide

The islands of Japan are home to a host of seismic activity in addition to tropical storms. It sits along the western edge of the infamous Ring of Fire, one of the most tectonically active places in the world.

Accompanying major flooding throughout parts of Japan, a 5.2 earthquake measured on the Richter scale rocked Tokyo the following Saturday.(3)

Major flooding and earthquakes throughout Japan had the ominous undertones of the Fukushima disaster. The nuclear power plant was not immune to the forces at work in Japan. Drainage pumps were unable to cope with the floodwaters of Typhoon Etau: They released an avalanche of toxic water to an already decimated area.

Heavy rain waters caused drainage water to overflow into the sea, TEPCO, the company in charge of the Fukushima site, claimed in a press release following the typhoon. The company stated that samples taken  showed radiation levels that were both low and safe.(4)

Keep up to date with the radioactive disaster in Japan at Fukushima.news, powered by FETCH.news.

TECO’s “safe” radiation reading met with skepticism

The public has been skeptical about similar claims made by TEPCO. In 2013, for example, TEPCO dumped rainwater collecting on top of roofs of crippled buildings at the Fukushima site. TEPCO claimed that the discharged rainwater fell within the “safe” radiation range. In early 2015, however, it was discovered that rainwater discharged into the Pacific Ocean by TEPCO was 70 times higher than the levels recorded at the Fukushima site.(1)

Many Japanese citizens are wondering if TEPCO was tempted to once again “release” toxic rainwater into the Pacific Ocean as a “consequence” of Typhoon Etau.

Although TEPCO’s previous statements were met with a blush, the company publicly stated it has periodically dumped partially treated groundwater from the Fukushima site into the Pacific Ocean. The company claims that the amount released is small in comparison to the size of the ocean, and does not pose a real threat to marine life.(1)

While much has been said by TEPCO and the Japanese government about the groundwater at the Fukushima site, little has been said about toxic rainwater that is disseminating from the nuclear disaster to other parts of Japan. Meanwhile, Typhoon Etau probably washed up more radiation from the mountains surrounding the Fukushima site than the site itself.(1)

Learn more about the Fukushima disaster by visiting TruthWiki.org.

Sources include:

(1) FaireWinds.org

(2) TheGuardian.com

(3) USNews.com

(4) FukushimaWatch.com

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