Following a massive accident caused by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant of Japan on March 11, 2011, the Cuban government adopted a number of measures to confront and manage the possible consequences of a similar situation on the island.
Gladys López Bejerano, Director General of the Center for Radiation Protection and Hygiene (CPHR) has said that the catastrophe severely affected the earth’s health and ecology and tested Cuba’s capacity to react to an event of this kind and that the institution now formed part of a multidisciplinary team created to assess the impact of the industrial disaster.
She said that a systematic assessment of radioactive levels around the country had established that the event itself had no direct or worrying consequences for the Cuban population.
“However, CPHR implemented a contingency plan that provided aid to Cubans resident in Japan who wished to return to the island, and monitored foodstuffs like milk imported from Canada and the United States to determine the presence of radioactive contaminants,” she added.
López Bejerano also said that the Fukushima accident proved that even when nuclear technologies are strictly controlled to ensure their safe use, events that disrupt their equilibrium can occur and pose a risk to the world’s ecology and health.
She noted that as a result, Cuba maintained constant surveillance in this regard. “This is where CPHR plays a role.
For 15 years now, the institution has been monitoring the possible presence of radioactive substances in the grass, the rainwater and the soil”.
It also guarantees a scientific basis for the safe use of peaceful oriented nuclear techniques applied in the country, in line with the policies for the protection of workers, the general population and the environment.
FUKUSHIMA CONTINUES TO POLLUTE
Junichi Sato, the director of Greenpeace Japan, told the press that „there is no end in sight for the Fukushima communities.
Nearly 100,000 persons have thus far been unable to return to their homes and many never will do so.“ The activist also criticized the stance of local authorities and accused them of lying about radiation levels that still exist in the area five years after the catastrophe.
According to experts, there is evidence of the consequences of contamination on the environment that range from damage to animal DNA to tree mutations.
The Fukushima accident was rated a Level 7 event, the highest category on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES), considered to be one of the most severe nuclear accidents on record and on a par with the Chernobyl, Ukraine catastrophe in 1986.
The accident was caused by a 9.0 degree on the Richter scale earthquake, the biggest recorded in 140 years in Japan and caused waves of up to 40 meters. It severely damaged the Tokyo Electric Power Plant that had been operational since 1971.Share on FB Share on TT