The word Fukushima is frightening. Like the word Chernobyl.
March 11, 2011
It's been ten years since a 9.1 magnitude earthquake and an ensuing tsunami with 30-foot-plus waves hit Japan's east coast, causing a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The plant was flooded with seawater and left without emergency power, leading to multiple explosions and the release of radioactive contaminants.
In the immediate aftermath of the event, more than 150,000 people living within 20 kilometers of the facility or 10 kilometers of a nearby sister plant, were evacuated and an exclusion zone was established. The event is one of only two in history to be classified at the highest level of the International Nuclear Event Scale -- the other being Chernobyl, in 1986.
Radiation contamination has left large swathes of land off limits, likely forever. But from 2016, some residents have made their way back to areas declared safe by the government.
It was not a shortlived one-day event, but was a string of days of nothing but bad news to a world that was unable to do anything to help. Sound engineering with solid planning in a region of the world known for earthquakes had been enveloped by a natural disaster - and the common refrain of "had we only placed the pumps ten feet higher" and had we only . . . . . this and that" and "had we not built it here in the first place" resounded in people's minds.
We learn from Failures. Failure of imagination and planning was not the problem. Planning for a natural disaster was done - but nature sent something beyond anything that was expected. That is often the case in those events we call "disasters".
Technology is wonderful. And sometimes it isn't. We should always consider what the limits of tech are.