August 21, 2013: Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Power Plan Has Radioactive Leak

The disaster is reportedly responsible for more than 1,000 deaths. Hundreds more may day of cancer in the future. 

By Gina Tron

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On August 21, 2013 Japan reported a leak of radioactive water at the Fukushima nuclear disaster site to Level 3, a 'serious incident.”

A 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the fifth strongest earthquake ever to hit earth since humans began recording them, and a subsequent tsunami hit Japan on March 2011. The devastating disaster occurred just 14 days before the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant was scheduled be shut down.

After the earthquake hit, workers shut down three active reactors at the plant. However, the tsunami caused a station blackout disabling all but one generator. Most of the emergency core cooling system failed, resulting in a nuclear meltdown. A few days later multiple explosions were reported at the plant.

By the end of the month, the meltdown had long reaching effects. The EPA even found traces of radioactive iodine in milk in the United States. By April, contaminated water from one of the reactors was found flowing into the sea. The plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) began dumping radioactive water from storage tanks into the Pacific Ocean. Levels of iodine in the seawater nearby the plant were reportedly 7.5 million times the legal limit. Some nuclear experts called the incident the second worst nuclear disaster, and the most complicated accident of its kind in history.

Nearly two years later, On August 21, 2013 reactors from Fukushima leaked, causing a nuclear crisis yet again. It was so severe, that it prompted Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority to classify it as a level-3 nuclear incident. The toxic water possibly overflowed after a valve was accidently left open, TEPCO reported.

The disaster is reportedly responsible for more than 1,000 deaths. Many died during the evacuation and resulting long-term displacement in the wake of the disaster. It has been predicted that future cancer deaths related to the meltdown could be in the hundreds.

Pictured above, a woman prays for victims of the 2011 quake-tsunami disaster. 

{Photo: Getty Images]

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