In May 2023, a Notre Dame research team of three faculty members, five undergraduate students, and an engineering alumnus visited Fukushima, Japan to examine resilience from multiple perspectives—business, engineering, culture, science, economics and more.
With sponsorship from the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, the team interviewed Fukushima residents who have returned to their homes; small business owners who are hoping to revitalize the area; mental health professionals who are helping families cope with the lingering trauma of the disasters; and many others who are invested in the renewal of the area.
The team also had the opportunity to tour the Daiichi Nuclear Plant, which is still in the process of being decommissioned, and the evacuation zone of abandoned homes, businesses, and communities.
Jessica McManus Warnell
Rex and Alice A. Martin Faculty Director of the Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership
Management & Organization Teaching Professor, Mendoza College of Business
Japanese Language Teaching Professor
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values
Bianca Feix, neuroscience and behavior major
Daniel Miranda-Pereyra, accountancy and economics major
Colin Linnen, finance and global affairs major
Maya Malackowski, finance and industrial design major
Carter Powers, environmental engineering and Asian Studies major
Robert Wachter III ’21
Assistant Consultant and Water Resources Engineer
WSP USA, a civil engineering firm
Shown here are (top to bottom, left to right) the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant; the Notre Dame research team with farmers Yoshitomo and Hiroko Yokota, who formerly grew pears and plums, but now grow flowers; the Notre Dame research team on a tour outside the Daiichi plant; the team at Deloitte Japan, which supported the region after the disasters; piles of bags containing radioactive soil; and alumnus Robbie Wachter, a water resources engineer, on a seawall on the Fukushima coast.
In examining resiliency after the 2011 Fukushima triple disaster, a Notre Dame team of students and professors encounter hope, innovation, and even fields of roses.
Photography by Barbara Johnston, University of Notre Dame, 2023.