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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Greenpeace Report



Radiation Reloaded

出版物 - 2016-03-04

Ecological Impacts of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident 5 years Later


Greenpeace Report

The report is based on a large body of independent scientific research in impacted areas in the Fukushima region, as well as investigations by Greenpeace radiation specialists over the past five years. It exposes deeply flawed assumptions by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Abe government in terms of both decontamination and ecosystem risks. It further draws on research on the environmental impact of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe as an indication of the potential future for contaminated areas in Japan.

The environmental impacts of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster will last decades to centuries, due to man-made, long-lived radioactive elements are absorbed into the living tissues of plants and animals and being recycled through food webs, and carried downstream to the Pacific Ocean by typhoons, snowmelt, and flooding.

Greenpeace has conducted 25 radiological investigations in Fukushima since March 2011. In 2015, it focused on the contamination of forested mountains in Iitate district, northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Both Greenpeace and independent research have shown the movement of radioactivity from contaminated mountain watersheds, which can then enter coastal ecosystems. The Abukuma, one of Japan’s largest rivers which flows largely through Fukushima prefecture, is projected to discharge 111 TBq of 137Cs and 44 TBq of 134Cs, in the 100 years after the accident.


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Five years after the start of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear

accident, it is clear that the environmental consequences

are complex and extensive. Due to the radionuclides

released by the accident, and their incorporation into

the materials cycle of ecosystems, the impacts of the

disaster will last for decades and centuries. However,

the understanding of the full scale of the Fukushima

disaster for the natural environment is only its early

phase, highlighting the need for continued and expanded

independent research into the multiple ecological effects.

Clearly, some early impacts are already being seen:

internal tissue contamination in forest plants and trees

resulting in caesium translocation in bark, sapwood, and

heartwood; high concentrations in new leaves, and at least

in the case of cedar – pollen; apparent increases in growth

mutations of fir trees with rising radiation levels; heritable

mutations in pale blue grass butterfly populations; DNA-

damaged worms in highly contaminated areas; high levels

of caesium contamination in commercially important

freshwater fish; apparent reduced fertility in barn swallows;

and radiological contamination of one of the most

important ecosystems – coastal estuaries.

With the history of the Chernobyl and Kyshtym

radiological disasters as a guide, we can expect further

serious consequences for flora and fauna of Fukushima-

contaminated terrestrial and freshwater aquatic


Further, the vast stocks of radiation in the forests will

be a perennial source of radiological downstream

contamination, including high radiocaesium inputs into

coastal and marine ecosystems, for the foreseeable future.


Greenpeace fully supports the dedicated efforts of

independent scientists working to better understand

the impacts of this man-made nuclear disaster on

the ecosystems of Fukushima. It is their work and

investigations, inexcusably under resourced, that will help

the people of Japan grasp the scale of the environmental


And the people of Fukushima, who have lost so much

to TEPCO’s nuclear disaster, deserve to have accurate

and complete information so that they may face the

decisions ahead with clarity and knowledge. This report is

dedicated to them, as they have and continue to face the

enormous challenges wrought by this nuclear disaster with

resiliency, hope, and courage.

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