Interesting and slightly terrifying impact of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown of 2011: California red wine prior to 2011 had no noticeable trace (outside of background “noise”) of Cesium-137 radioactivity. After 2011? Cesium-137 appears by a factor of two (meaning double the background noise).
How did it get here? The ocean, the wind. From Japan to Seattle, then down along the west coast of North America where it was absorbed by agriculture and – potentially – every living organism in its path.
What does it mean? We’ll find out eventually once it’s too late.
There were significant problems with the meltdown that could have been prevented if we had functional, radiation shielded robots or R/C systems to mitigate the exposure as reactive systems. We weren’t ready for it. It happened and we’ll pay a price far beyond the initial “573 non-exposure” deaths. Researchers have just started to report findings that are tied to date and agriculture.
I still believe in nuclear energy. Outside of renewables like wind and solar, nuclear is necessary. But it comes with the overhead and preparation for the inherit risks. The Fukushima melt down could have been prevented, even when the tsunami could not have been, and the resulting disaster could have been better mitigated. We failed.
That sucks. It’s going to take its toll eventually. We’re at the initial steps of measuring how. We have to learn from this and invest in better management, over-site and response.