Magazine / March 2012

Are you at risk?

A map marking nuclear power plants around the world.

A map marking nuclear power plants around the world.

This interactive map shows all operating nuclear reactors around the world and how many millions of people are threatened by a Fukushima-like disaster at any one of these ticking time bombs.

View Map See if you're at risk

More than 400 nuclear reactors producing electricity in the world. And our map highlights that hundreds of millions of people live within areas around reactors that could become highly contaminated and would have to be evacuated in the event of a nuclear accident. The interactive map, with data from Nature magazine, works with Facebook and Twitter to let users alert others to the risk of a nearby nuclear accident.

"We've released this interactive map so that people can find out how close they are to the next Fukushima disaster and can then alert others to the risks," said Aslihan Tumer, Greenpeace International nuclear campaigner.

Our report "Lessons from Fukushima" shows that while the tsunami that hit Japan's east coast on March 11, 2011 may have triggered the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant it was the failures of the Japanese Government, regulators and the nuclear industry that resulted in tragedy. The key conclusion to be drawn from the report is that this human-made nuclear disaster could be repeated at any nuclear plant around the world, putting millions at risk.

"This is not just about Japan. The failures we've seen in Japan are repeated everywhere there are reactors and could lead to a major accident in any country," said Tumer. "More than 150,000 people had to evacuate from around Fukushima Daiichi, but they still have not been properly compensated and so cannot rebuild their lives. Hundreds of thousands of others remain in highly contaminated areas, putting them at risk of long-term illnesses."

Japan's decision to base evacuation from Fukushima radiation on small circular geographical zones around the plant was inadequate as radiation does not travel uniformly outwards but travels in corridors due to factors such as prevailing winds and topography. A nuclear disaster may require evacuation several hundred kilometers from an accident. Greenpeace's on line tool shows the numbers who would have to be evacuated at distances of up to 300 km for a worst-case accident.

Japanese authorities have certified that 573 people have died already from causes related to the nuclear disaster. They were not killed by direct radiation but they would not have died if there hadn't been a nuclear disaster.

"Since the next nuclear disaster could happen anywhere there is a reactor, the terrible consequences of an accident will be the fault of the government in that country for continuing to ignore the risks and continuing to behave as if nuclear energy is safe," said Tumer. "The only way to deal with the threats of nuclear accidents is to phase out reactors and replace them with energy efficiency and renewable energy."