Fukushima retrospective

One year after the Tokyo quake and subsequent Fukushima nuclear incident, the Science Media Centre looks back over how events unfolded and how experts around the world responded to the situation.

On March 11th 2011 a magnitude  9.0 quake struck off the the eastern coast of Japan, triggering powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40 metres and travelled up to 10 km inland. The tsunami critically damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, ultimately leading to a Level 7 meltdown and the evacuation of thousands of civilians as well as international concern over radioactive fallout travelling through the atmosphere.

As the one year anniversary of the quake and tsunami approaches, the Science Media Centre has collated some of the expert commentary and resources we provided to journalists covering the breaking story of the quake and damaged nuclear reactor.

Included below are just some of the breaking updates and resources that the NZ SMC provided to journalists during and after the Fukushima incident.

The initial response to the Tokyo quake, tsunami and reports of damage to Fukushima:

Experts: Japan quake – no relation to Christchurch (Mar 12; UK & Canada)

Further expert response to Fukushima reports:

Nuclear experts on the latest at Fukushima (Mar 12; UK)

Experts on Japanese nuclear power plant explosion (Mar 13; UK)

Japan’s nuclear crisis – Twitter Q&A with experts (Mar 14; Japan)

Health experts explain radiation risks:

Fukushima reactor breach: radiation and health effects (Mar 13; Australia)

Outside the evacuation zone: Health effects of low dose radiation (Mar 18; NZ)

Fukushima: expert update on radiation (Mar 22; Japan)

Expert analysis of the damaged Fukushima reactors:

Experts on Japan’s nuclear reactor crisis (Mar 14; Australia)

Experts on Japan’s nuclear crisis and analysis of the earthquake (Mar 15; UK & Japan)

Reactors at Fukushima will not reach recriticality – expert (Mar 18; Japan)

Experts respond: Fukushima now ‘Level 7? Nuclear Incident (Apr 13; UK & Australia)

Food safety and radiation:

Food safety in Japan – experts respond (Mar 22;Japan)

Experts on Tokyo tap water contamination (Mar 24; UK)

Atmospheric spread of radiation:

Fukushima – Projections for a radioactive plume (Mar 18; UK)

Experts respond to radioactive iodine-131 in UK (Mar 30; UK)

Experts respond: More comments on Fukushima power plant and iodine-131 (Apr 1; Australia)

Experts on radioactive sulphur from Fukushima (Aug 16; UK and Canada)

Analysis of media coverage:

Fiona Fox: Media meltdown over nuclear threat (Mar 24; UK)