On 11 March 2011, at 2:46 p.m. local time (6.46 a.m. CET), an earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter scale hit the east coast of Japan. The quake caused a tsunami, with waves as high as 38 metres, which led to large-scale flooding and destruction of roads, the power supply and other infrastructure along Japan’s eastern seaboard. The earthquake and tsunami also struck several nuclear power plants. Fukushima Daiichi sustained the worst damage, triggering a chain of events which led to core meltdown, major hydrogen explosions and massive releases of radiation.
Below, the Oeko-Institut answers the key questions about the disaster’s timeline, latest assessments of the events, and the current situation in Fukushima.