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In 2011, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to melt down. After radioactive material was released into the air, over 100,000 people were evacuated from an area roughly the size of Los Angeles. The area was then divided into three zones – one where people were permitted to return to, one where some areas were deemed safe to live, and one deemed uninhabitable due to the high levels of radiation. Almost ten years later, the wildlife in the area is thriving. Yes, even in the restricted areas.

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The Planet

Japanese Scientists Find Mutant Butterflies Near Fukushima

Japanese scientists have looked at several generations of butterflies near the power plant and found some concerning "abnormalities."

A massive release of radioactive material is never good, but so far it's been hard to evaluate the precise effects of the collapse of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on the surrounding environment. But this new study, published in Scientific Reports, is concerning. Japanese scientists have looked at several generations of pale grass blue butterfly populations in the affected area and have found physical mutations and genetic damage. In short: mutant butterflies.

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Pocket EPA: iPhone Gadget to Measure Environmental Hazards

New gizmo will measure local radiation, electromagnetic pollution, and whether or not food is organic.

It's a hazardous world out there. Some things we have control over—like the food we put on our plates—but other risks are harder to detect. Lapka Electronics sees an opportunity in our anxiety over contaminated environments and is soon bringing a device to market that holds some promise to mitigate the toxicity to which we're all exposed.

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Overload: How to Follow Fukushima and Some Weekend Long Reads

The enduring crisis at Fukushima, plus some incredible long-form reads for the weekend, in today's roundup from GOOD Environment HQ.


Every day since these charts were created, I wake up and check out the radiation levels from all around Japan, including just outside the Fukushima reactor (above).

Then I'll load up Jesse Jenkins' "nuclear crisis" Twitter feed for some wide-ranging and deep-diving updates of the situation at Fukushima.

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