The Fourth Winter of Fukushima

UConn Today 3/10/2015
Author: David Bauman

“On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake recorded in Japanese history, magnitude 8.9 on the Richter scale, rocked the northeastern coast of Japan. The quake triggered a 10-meter tsunami that wiped out whole communities, killing an estimated 19,000 people, making another 325,000 homeless, and leaving an estimated 23 million tons of debris scattered across Japan’s coastline. The tsunami also triggered explosions at three reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, forcing the evacuation of thousands of townspeople and villagers to shelters away from the path of the plant’s plume of radioactivity.

Four years later, as the tragedy continues to unfold in Japan, Alexis Dudden, a Japan scholar and professor of history at UConn, recently visited Tomioka, a small town in Fukushima near the nuclear power plant, for an essay published last month in the journal Foreign Policy in Focus. Dudden spent 2009-10 in Niigata, Japan on a Fulbright Research Fellowship and was in Japan when the earthquake struck. UConn Today spoke with Dudden and has edited her essay, “The Fourth Winter of Fukushima,” that deals with the tsunami, nuclear power, and the resiliency of the Japanese people.” Read More…