Haunting Photos from Fukushima and Chernobyl
Categories: Life Stories
A nuclear disaster is a disaster that never ends. That’s why, on these two significant anniversaries, Greenpeace have released Nuclear Scars: The Lasting Legacies of Chernobyl and Fukushima. This report tells the story of the nuclear victims. It describes how contamination touches every aspect of their lives – it’s in what they eat and what they drink, in the wood they use for construction and burn to keep warm. Every day they must make decisions on how to limit their exposure to radiation. This contamination will be with them for decades to come, and so will the related impacts on their health.
Pripyat has become a canvas for haunting graffiti like this one, to symbolise the ghost town and the lost souls.
Can a nuclear disaster like this ever happen again? In countries like the United States, South Korea and France, it is a real possibility and these images and the report show what the consequences are.
Iitate district, northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, was heavily contaminated by the March 2011 accident. Here, bags of radioactive waste pile up nearby abandoned homes (July 2015).
There is no “cure” for nuclear. Thirty years later and Chernobyl victims are still suffering: death rates are higher, birth rates are lower, incidence of cancer has increased and mental health effects are widespread. In Fukushima, a rise in thyroid cancer incidences amongst children has been observed, and almost a third of mothers living close to the damaged reactors show symptoms of depression.
Authorities in Japan and around Chernobyl have a responsibility to involve impacted people in decisions on their personal safety and survivors should be compensated for losses to their livelihood, property and for impacts on mental health.
For countries that opt to keep nuclear power they need to have emergency plans in place to address large-scale radiation releases like Fukushima or Chernobyl. Or better yet, find alternatives and invest in renewables.
The world does not need another incident like Fukushima or Chernobyl. This nuclear nightmare must end.