[Investigate] Remembering Fukushima

Greenpeace has been conducting radiation monitoring around the Fukushima area for the past year.

Greenpeace has been conducting radiation monitoring around the Fukushima area for the past year.

© Noriko Hayashi / Greenpeace

The Fukushima nuclear disaster last year in Japan prompted the world to reflect on nuclear power, and ask is it really safe? Is it really necessary? A year later and the true extent of the accident is still emerging.

Fukushima Review

What do you think of when you hear the word Fukushima? For us here at Greenpeace, the chilling sight of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant emitting plumes of smoke will be forever etched in our memories.

Remembering Fukushima

Greenpeace worked with experts in nuclear radioactivity to investigate the course of the disaster, keeping track of radiation leaks and their impacts. We also set up a radiation monitoring office in Tokyo last October, while pressuring the Japanese government to release more data and to phase out nuclear power.

Contaminated fish

Over the past year, Greenpeace carried out eight radiation tests in Fukushima and the surrounding areas and three investigations on fishery products. Radiation levels detected in fish and seaweed were higher than the official safety limits, even in canned mackerel sold as far away as Tokyo and Osaka.

Greenpeace has been urging food companies to increase random testing on their products and to clearly label products with the fishing location rather than the manufacturing location.

Radiation travels 50 km/h

Last November, Greenpeace carried out a simulated nuclear leak at Genkai Nuclear power plant in Kyushu in west Japan. We used government data on power plants for the simulation. We found that it took no more than one hour for the radiation to spread to the Ariake Sea, a major fishing ground 50 km away.

This shows that the official 30 km-radius evacuation zone around a damaged nuclear power plant is clearly not safe.

Children at special risk

The Greenpeace Radiation Monitoring Team carried out extensive testing in Fukushima City last August. The tests revealed that nuclear radiation levels detected in a school and a downtown park, which had been through the official ‘radiation decontamination’ process, were high enough so that over the course of a year, children who spent at least three hours a day in the school or the park would be exposed to levels of radiation higher than those considered safe for an adult. Clearly the government’s procedures for determining an area is safe are dangerously wrong when children are placed at risk like this.

Fukushima Nuclear Detection


Japan 2012 nuclear-free summer

This year, Greenpeace will continue to campaign for Japan to phase out its nuclear power industry and so that by 2020 renewable energy will make up 43% of the country's total energy supply.

Fukushima mothers tell their stories

Time made me forget

“I am Mrs. Okawara, Over the past 26 years, I operated an organic farm together with my family.

Although it was 25 years ago I still remember the Chernobyl leak. This made me, a breastfeeding mother, very anxious. Considering that my home was only 40 km away from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, I thought it was important to learn more about nuclear power, in an effort to prevent my young children from similar suffering. I also began warning my friends of the dangers of nuclear power.

However, with five children I found myself busy rearing them and working on my farm. So my anti-nuclear passion began to fade away.

Thinking of the horrors of nuclear leakage, I was struck with guilt because I had already known of the consequences 25 years ago but did nothing…”

stop castor nuclear waste


Nuclear power threatens our children

Kanako Nishikata, “The Fukushima nuclear accident has deprived us of safety. Recently one of my children said to me, "I don't want to go back to Fukushima. I'll get ill if I stay in Fukushima. And I may die!" And I thought to myself, when I was my children's age. I never had to deal with such a situation.

Aside from the sorrow in my heart, there is also indignation. It's the recklessness of us adults that has led to these dangers threatening the world, and fostered such worries in the minds of children.

Let's not forget this, for the sake of our children. I am going to whole-heartedly continue to fight for a nuclear-free world. And it's also going to be a lifelong task of all Fukushima residents.”

Greenpeace in Fukushima Gathering