Remembering the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

On September 29, both the Middle School and the High School welcomed visitors to speak on topics related to the Fukushima disaster.

As part of the current Science unit on Environmental Dynamics and Fukushima, grade 8 had the opportunity to attend a presentation by two representatives from Safecast, a volunteer-run, non-profit organization based in Tokyo. Safecast’s mission is collecting, cataloging and mapping radiation data both in Japan and abroad.

Volunteers Azby Brown and Joe Moross shared how Safecast was created as a direct response to the lack of reliable and consolidated radiation readings after the meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011. Mr. Brown and Mr. Moross demonstrated some of Safecast’s findings by looking at different maps of radiation readings. Students were able to practice with the equipment that Safecast volunteers and “citizen scientists” use to collect and upload geotagged radiation readings from around the globe. The students also had the opportunity to ask questions about radiation in general, the current state of the area around Fukushima and how the Safecast data is used. This is especially exciting as the whole class begins to join the ranks of Safecast’s “citizen scientist” brigade by borrowing specially equipped Geiger counters to record data to contribute to Safecast’s database. (Jessica Gould, MS Science Teacher)

If you would like to learn more about Safecast, you can visit their website.


On the same day, David Collett, a licensed professional engineer with expertise in earthquake engineering, energy and nuclear power, visited with high school students in the CWI: Fukushima, Japan Seminar and Japan Studies courses. During his talk, “Fukushima: Sorting Fact from Fiction,” Mr. Collett gave background on the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant, explained its structural designs and explored the flaws that led to the subsequent meltdowns after the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.