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The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was a catastrophic failure at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant on 11 March 2011. The failure occurred when the plant was hit by the tsunami triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake;[6] the plant began releasing substantial amounts of radioactive materials beginning on 12 March,[7] becoming the largest nuclear incident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the second (with Chernobyl) to measure Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale,[8] releasing an estimated 10-30% of the earlier incident's radiation.[9] Although no short term radiation exposure fatalities were reported,[10] some 300,000 people evacuated the area, approximately 18,500 people died due to the earthquake and tsunami, and as of August 2013 approximately 1,600 deaths were related to the evacuation conditions, such as living in temporary housing and hospital closures.[11] The exact cause of the majority of these evacuation-related deaths were unspecified because that would hinder the deceased relatives' application for financial compensation.[12][13] Future cancer deaths from accumulated radiation exposures in the population living near Fukushima are predicted to be elevated for certain types of cancers such as leukemia, solid cancers, thyroid cancer and breast cancer.[10] The negative health effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster for populations living in the most contaminated areas include a moderately increased risk of thyroid cancer for girls, and a slightly increased risk of other cancers for infants. In particular, a 2013 WHO report predicts that for populations living in the most affected areas there is a 70% higher risk of developing thyroid cancer for girls exposed as infants, a 7% higher risk of leukemia in males exposed as infants, a 6% higher risk of breast cancer in females exposed as infants and a 4% higher risk, overall, of developing solid cancers for females.The government says the recent cases are unlikely to be connected with the Fukushima releases as it generally takes several years after radiation exposure for thyroid cancer to develop and similar rates of cancer occurred before the accident. Data from the Chernobyl Accident showed that there was a steady then sharp increase in thyroid cancer rates following the disaster in 1986, however whether this data can be directly compared to the Fukushima nuclear disaster is still yet to be determined. In November 2013, another report from the Fukushima Prefectural Government revealed that more children have been diagnosed with confirmed or suspected thyroid cancer. The number of children diagnosed with thyroid cancer was 59. However whether these cancers are due to radiation exposure from the Fukushima nuclear disaster is still yet to be determined. The report also found that the plant was incapable of withstanding the earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO, regulators Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and NSC and the government body promoting the nuclear power industry (METI), all failed to meet the most basic safety requirements, such as assessing the probability of damage, preparing for containing collateral damage from such a disaster, and developing evacuation plans.A separate study by Stanford researchers found that Japanese plants operated by the largest utility companies were particularly unprotected against potential tsunamis.
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