Several weeks ago the world watched as an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan. As a result a 33-foot tall wall of water hit a large portion of Japan’s northern coast. Because of the tsunami, one of Japan’s major nuclear power plants is suffering from partial meltdowns in several of its reactors. These partial meltdowns are due to the failure of the nuclear plant’s cooling systems.
Currently, Japan is flooding the reactors’ cores with water in an attempt to prevent full-scale meltdowns. Although a full meltdown has not yet occurred, Japan is already suffering repercussions due to the elevated radiation levels in the area.
The high radiation levels have had an especially negative impact on Japan’s fishing industry as the surrounding aquatic ecosystem has observed an increase in radiation. Radioactive particles have even become trapped in the clouds above the nuclear plant, which in turn may contaminate rainfall and damage Japan’s crops and milk supply.
Japan’s recent nuclear crisis has sparked questions about the risks associated with nuclear power and will hopefully lead to a higher usage of less dangerous and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Could this be the end of nuclear power?