You would expect that after a major nuclear disaster, the region around the plant will be a designated area, left unused and deserted. But unlike Chernobyl, where the land is completely abandoned, the region of Fukushima is regaining its pre-disaster shape, and it is doing it with a bang. Local farmers are resuming agricultural practices, growing various crops on Fukushima’s soils.
The region is now a proud owner the Renewable Energy Village (REV). This is where more than 100 photovoltaic panels produce 30 kilowatts of power that is then purchased by a local utility company. Alongside these, the village will be further equipped with wind turbines, educational facilities and even an amusement park. And if you thought this is all, wait until you read the following. Under these solar panels, farmers will be growing the future food of the nation.
It is difficult to accept that one day we will be happily eating vegetables and crops grown on radioactive land, but a region where agriculture has been the most common mean for generating income, people are more than determined to prove to the world that it is all safe and good to go.
So what are the conditions to be met in order to ensure that the produce is not killing us? Well, first and foremost, the concentrations of radiation should be low enough, not only to produce non-contaminated crops, but also to guarantee the safety of the farmers. In addition to this, not all crops can be grown there, simply because each type of plant has a different ability to absorb radiation. And last but not least, many tests have to be carried out before anything reaches the market shelves.
Agricultural practices in the region were resumed just under a year ago, when farmers began to grow rice. Of course, beforehand the soil had to be pre-treated with potassium-rich minerals that are known for their ability to reduce the concentration of radioactive elements. The production then had to be carefully tested before it was given a green light for sale.
Strangely enough, and opposite to all expectations, the local population is no longer so hesitant to purchase these crops. This is probably the reason why quite a number of farmers are willing to go back to their abandoned land and businesses and give agriculture another chance, while one of the country’s largest fast food chains is even promoting the harvesting of rice, onions and cabbage in the new farm. The project chairman, Sohei Takahashi, is convinced that the revolutionary Renewable Energy Village is likely to not only pay back the losses, but even generate more revenue than in the times prior to the disaster.
Image (c) Gizmodo