The immediate concern with a catastrophic event like a nuclear meltdown is going to be loss of life and damage to critical infrastructure. Soon after, however, issues such as long-term access to safe food takes center stage.

Gourmet took a look at the situation in Japan following the March meltdown and subsequent radiation leak at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The disaster was the world’s worst since Chernobyl, contaminating a 900-mile area around the plant.

The article details some rather devastating estimates as to the total cost to food production in the region of Japan closest to the plant:

-$5.15 billion in losses of unusable farmland

-$180 million in destroyed crops and livestock

-$740 million in damage to the farm fishing industry

A Japanese food expert is quoted in the story as saying it’s still too early to know the full extent of the damage or any fundamental change to the way the Japanese will approach food production.

A possibility is that the country will begin to explore greater use of “organic and sustainable farming.”


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