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Monday, 14 October 2019

Typhoon Hagibis horror! Thousands of bags containing radioactive waste have been washed into local Fukushima stream by floodwaters, leaving a devastating environmental impact

Bags of radioactive waste are seen piled up at a temporary storage site in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture| KYODO

As Typhoon Hagibis hammered Japan on Saturday, thousands of bags containing radioactive waste have reportedly been carried into a local Fukushima stream by floodwaters, potentially having a devastating environmental impact. According to Asahi Shimbun, a temporary storage facility containing some 2,667 bags stuffed with radioactive contaminants from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was unexpectedly inundated by floodwaters brought by Typhoon Hagibis. Torrential rain flooded the storage facility and released the bags into a stream 100 meters away. Officials from Tamara City in Fukushima Prefecture said that each bag is approximately one cubic meter in size. Authorities were only able to recover six of the bags by 9 p.m. on Oct. 12, and it is uncertain how many remain on the loose while the possible environmental impact is being assessed.

According to Japan Today, powerful Typhoon Hagibis devastated parts of eastern Japan as it ploughed across the Tokai, Kanto and Tohoku regions and passed over the Pacific Ocean on early Sunday morning. According to a Yomiuri Shimbun tally, as of 9 p.m. on Sunday, the typhoon had claimed the lives of 34 people in 10 prefectures, with 17 people missing. The typhoon caused the Chikuma River in Nagano Prefecture and the Abukuma River in Fukushima Prefecture to burst their banks, flooding many houses in low-lying areas. The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan has released a map of affected areas, indicating the depth of flooding around rivers. Flooding is believed to have reached a maximum depth of about 4.3 meters near the Chikuma River and 5.2 meters near the Abukuma River.

Only last month Typhoon Faxai wreaked havoc on areas of the country, damaging 30,000 homes, most of which have not yet been repaired. Evacuation centres have been opened in some coastal areas. Transport systems have also been affected, with bullet trains and flights cancelled. 

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