While keen surfers take to the waves around Fukushima, plans are under way to dump contaminated water from the damaged nuclear power plant into the sea
19 August 2020
Agency Prospekt Photographers
THIS surfer is one of many hoping to catch the waves at Kitaizumi beach in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture. The coastal spot was once hailed as a surfer’s paradise thanks to its high waves and sandy shores. Yet it has been almost a decade since it has been able to enjoy that status.
In 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant – situated around 25 kilometres from the beach – was the site of the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, after it was hit by a devastating tsunami. Kitaizumi reopened to the public in 2019 after a huge decontamination effort, and surfers are keen to see people return to the beach.
Taken by photographer Laura Liverani as part of a series called Fukushima Surfers, the image shows how the sport is making a comeback in the area. Though the building in the background is the Haramachi coal power station, not Fukushima Daiichi, the legacy of the nuclear plant still lingers.
Due to a lack of space, Japan plans to tip 1 million tonnes of contaminated water stored from the disaster – a combination of recovered groundwater and deliberately injected cooling waters – into the Pacific Ocean after it is treated. Managed properly, this shouldn’t release any harmful radioactive particles that could pass into marine sediment and fish or threaten surfers’ safe return to the sea.
More on these topics: