Worried speculation began around the world almost as soon as the Japanese, already shocked by the damage caused by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011, learned of explosions at the Fukishama Dai-ichi nuclear plant near the quake’s epicenter on Japan’s northeast coast. Would this become one of the three worst nuclear disasters in history, after Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986?
Japanese and plant officials were accused of not getting enough information to the public in a timely manner to protect them from radiation. Now, reports worsen daily: radiation is turning up in food gardens, Tokyo residents are warned not to drink possibly radioactive tap water, and nuclear plant workers are being hospitalized for radiation exposure. Japan’s residents are just beginning to pay the ultimate price for nuclear energy gone wrong.