The disaster at the Fukushima power plant was called an energy accident. It was initiated by a tsunami caused by the Tōhoku earthquake on March 11, 2011. The accident caused a meltdown and the release of radioactive material.
The first thought of course is the dangers of radiation and the long-term health effects on the population as well as the effects on livestock along with marine and plant life. It will take years of study and truthful reporting to determine the actual long-term effects however. Of course, the question is can anyone truly gauge the effects effectively, and can you count on the authorities to actually disclose the effects. When it comes to informing the public governments tend to leave things off the reports that they feel the masses do not need to know.
Tests had found that 36 percent of the children living near the site have unusual growths in their thyroid glands.
Some studies have shown that the rates of cancer primarily thyroid cancer was the same before the disasters. However, an article by Stars and Stripes magazine asserts that a Japanese governmental study shows there are 25 times as many people who have developed thyroid cancer after the disasters as compared with data collected before the disaster (Stars and Stripes Museum/Library, 2013).
You simply have to take all information contradictory or not and make your own informed decision. It would be naïve however for anyone to assume that no effects whatsoever would occur.
To some it was sheer folly building a nuclear reactor on the coastline because the island of Japan is known for its earthquakes and ensuing tsunamis caused by the earthquakes. The experts that constructed the plants assured everyone that the plants were designed to withstand earthquakes of a certain magnitude. It is obvious they assumed that one of such magnitude that could cause damage would never occur, because it never had in the past. They thought they had prepared for the worst-case scenario, which of course they had not. This is what happens when people make assumptions.
It can be compared to placing a boiling pot of water on the stove with the handle sticking out and assuming because no one has ever hit the handle before that it would never happen. It happened and there is no going back, and based on other events that have happened in the world it seems no lessons will be learned, see Three Mile Island March 1979 and the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.
What Does This Mean To You
As of 2011, there are 104 nuclear reactors in operation in the United States (69 pressurized, 35 boiling water reactors), which are licensed to operate at 65 nuclear power plants. A little over 19 percent of the nation’s electrical power is supplied by nuclear energy (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2013).
An illustration showing nuclear power plants licensed to operate in the United States
Given the state of the world today countries and organizations do not have to mount a massive attack they simply have to sabotage a nuclear power plant or wait for a natural disaster to come along and do their work for them. The points of a nuclear bomb, for those that think long-term, are the deaths and effects caused by radiation contamination. Of course thousands, if not millions can be killed by the detonation alone but the long-term effects of radiation and the lack of an energy source could essentially destroy a nation over time. Its economics, its population growth along with many other things will be stifled, and it will take decades for the full ramifications to become known.
Stars and Stripes Museum/Library. (2013). Retrieved 2013, from http://www.starsandstripesmuseumlibrary.org/
U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2013). How many nuclear power plants are in the U.S. and where are they located? Retrieved 2013, from http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/how-many-nuclear-power-plants-are-us-and-where-are-they-located