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Learning lessons from Fukushima


The Fukushima accident prompted Germany’s nuclear shutdown

Two years after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, measures are being taken to protect the German population from accidents. But their implementation could take years, and some critics are concerned.
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When in March 2011 images of the Fukushima nuclear accident were shown on German TV, Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted quickly. She promised to review the safety of all German nuclear plants, and not long afterwards eight reactors in Germany were shut down. Then the government announced that Germany would be nuclear-free by 2022.

But did the German government draw all the right conclusions? Experts from the Radiation Protection Commission, which advises the government on these issues, point out that in case of a nuclear accident in Germany significantly more people could be affected than previously expected. They want more measures to be imposed to better protect the population in case of an emergency.
300 Tonnen radioaktives Wasser versickert in Fukushima August 2013

The Fukushima accident prompted Germany’s nuclear shutdown

Among other recommendations, the commission wants to see the radius of the evacuation zone increased from 10 to 12 kilometers. Furthermore, the commission advises to government to build up national stocks of iodine tablets. If the iodine is taken in time it prevents the thyroid from taking in radioactive iodine.

Far too late, some say…

These additional precautions should have been implemented a long time ago, said Jochen Stay of the anti-nuclear campaign “Ausgestrahlt” (radiated). It has been known for more than two years that radiation spreads much further than previously thought. The precautions proposed by experts do not reach far enough, Stay claims. “They are thinking about reducing limits for resettlement from 100 to 50 millisieverts,” he told DW. “That sounds good at first, but in Japan the limit is actually set at 20 millisieverts for the zone around Fukushima.”
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