UC Berkeley Center for Japanese Studies and the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area at Berkeley Lab hosted a public event regarding the recovery and future in the Fukushima region after the nuclear accident. The event was held on Monday, October 30 at the David Brower Center on UC Berkeley’s campus. Research scientist Haruko Wainwright of EESA’s Climate Sciences Division made opening and closing remarks at the event.

Fukushima Prefecture has achieved a remarkable recovery after the nuclear accident in 2011, thanks to extensive clean-up. Negative perception, however, still persists across Japan and the world, causing economic and psychological damages. Rising up to this challenge, a group of local high-school students teamed up with Professor Ryugo Hayano at the University of Tokyo in 2015 to collect their own radiation data using a new portable sensor, called D Shuttle. Their results – featured on Forbes – have shown that the radiation level in Fukushima is not at all higher than other places in the world.

These students are pioneering an approach to tackle environmental disasters; new technologies and democratizing data can empower communities and support socioeconomic recovery.

 This event also highlighted Berkeley Lab’s research activities for the Fukushima Restoration since 2013. EESA scientists Jens Birkholzer, Haruko Wainwright, Erica Woodburn, Charuleka Varadharajan, Boris Faybishenko, Carl Steefel, Kenneth Williams, Kai Vetter, Andy Haefer, and Deb Agarwal are contributing to various aspects such as regional-scale radiation monitoring, gamma-ray hotspot visualization, contaminant transport prediction and data management.