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Japan has a problem. In 2011, there was a huge earthquake in Japan. The earthquake damaged a nuclear power plant. The power plant is in Fukushima. The damage from the earthquake and tsunami meant that the power plant had to be shut down. The Japanese government had to work hard to stop radiation from leaking from the power plant. Water has been used to keep the power plant cool for 10 years now. After the water is used, it is stored in giant tanks. Space is now running out to store the water. In 2022, there will be no more space.

The Japanese government has said that they will start releasing the water into the ocean in 2022. This has caused many people to be upset. People are scared of radiation and they think that the water will damage the environment. Scientists say that this is because people don’t understand radiation. Japan will release the water into the ocean very slowly. It will take about 30 years. Japan will also make the water less radioactive first. When the water is released into the ocean, it will have less radiation than regular drinking water.

Misunderstandings about radiation and nuclear power have stopped it from becoming used in more countries. Nuclear power is very safe and very good for the environment. However, people are scared of nuclear power because they think it is very dangerous. Some people want to start using more nuclear power plants to help the environment. Nuclear power hasn’t been used as much as it could be because people are scared of it. The fear seems to happen because they do not understand it.

Difficult words

Damaged (adj): To be hurt or ruined in some way.

Nuclear (adj): A type of energy made from nuclear fission.

Radiation (n): High-energy coming from a certain place.

Releasing (v): To be allowed to go free from some place.

Radioactive (adj): Something that has come in contact with radiation.

Misunderstanding (n): Something that is not understood, taking the wrong meaning.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Damaged A. Energy
 2. Nuclear B. Not understand.
 3. Releasing C. Had contact with radiation.
 4. Radioactive D. Hurt
 5. Misunderstanding E. Set free.

True or False?

1.  There was a huge Earthquake in Japan. T / F

2. The Earthquake did not cause any damage. T / F

3. Wind has been used to keep the power plant cool for 10 years now. T / F

4. The Japanese government plan to release the water into the ocean. T / F

5. It will take 30 years to release the water. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. problem / has / Japan / a

2. is / The / in / plant / Fukushima / power

3. scared / of / radiation / People / are

4. take / It / 30 / years / about / will

5. is / safe / power / Nuclear / very

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

American English:

FearRegularUpset
RunningEarthquakePower

Japan has a problem. In 2011, there was a huge (1)____________ in Japan. The earthquake damaged a nuclear power plant. The power plant is in Fukushima. The damage from the earthquake and tsunami meant that the power plant had to be shut down. The Japanese government had to work hard to stop radiation from leaking from the power plant. Water has been used to keep the power plant cool for 10 years now. After the water is used, it is stored in giant tanks. Space is now (2)___________ out to store the water. In 2022, there will be no more space.

The Japanese government has said that they will start releasing the water into the ocean in 2022. This has caused many people to be (3)_________. People are scared of radiation and they think that the water will damage the environment. Scientists say that this is because people don’t understand radiation. Japan will release the water into the ocean very slowly. It will take about 30 years. Japan will also make the water less radioactive first. When the water is released into the ocean, it will have less radiation than (4)___________ drinking water.

Misunderstandings about radiation and nuclear (5)__________ have stopped it from becoming used in more countries. Nuclear power is very safe and very good for the environment. However, people are scared of nuclear power because they think it is very dangerous. Some people want to start using more nuclear power plants to help the environment. Nuclear power hasn’t been used as much as it could be because people are scared of it. The (6)________ seems to happen because they do not understand it.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. What is your opinion about nuclear energy?
5. What source of energy does your country use the most?
6. Is it possible to make people less fearful of nuclear energy?
7. Do you think every country should be using nuclear energy?
8. Should the Japanese government dump the water into the ocean?
9. Should students learn about radiation in school?
10. What is the general opinion about nuclear energy in your country?
11. Do you think it’s understandable that people are nervous about Japan’s plan?
12. Is your country doing anything to change to greener sources of energy?
13. What do you think about the Chinese spokesman’s request to the Deputy Prime Minister of Japan?
14. Can you think of any other ways for Japan to get rid of the water?
15. How can people be educated about the safety of nuclear energy?
16. Do you think nuclear energy could be the answer to climate change?
17. Is climate change often discussed in your country?
18. Has your country had any disasters like the Fukushima power plant meltdown before?
19. Would you live close to a nuclear power plant?
20. What do you think about Tepco being hesitant to put more safety measures in place because of public opinion?