A suspected unexploded bomb from the World War II was found at the site of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Thursday.
The 33-inch-long, 6-inch-thick object was found during the construction of a parking lot about half a mile from the reactors that suffered a meltdown after a devastating tsunami in 2011, said a spokesperson of Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), reported multiple Japanese media.
TEPCO halted the construction and police cleared a 220-yard radius around the device. The ongoing cleanup work at the plant was not disrupted.
Unexploded ordnance and other remnants of United States bombardment of Japan at the end of the war is still unearthed from time to time. Injuries from these relics have been extremely rare in recent decades, but bomb disposal is disruptive as it forces authorities to evacuate the nearby area.
Okinawa was hit the most and authorities estimate there is still some 3,000 tons of unexploded ordnance scattered across the small island between Kyushu and Taiwan. It is estimated to take decades to clear them up.
Since the island reverted from U.S. military to Japanese control in 1972, more than 30,000 bomb disposal operations have been conducted, removing and destroying more than 1.38 million separate pieces, or 1,578 tons of unexploded ordnance, a spokesman for Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force told Stars and Stripes.
Bombs of yore pester every country substantially bombarded over the past decades, or even centuries. Often buried several feet underground, they’re usually only found during excavations. Countries bombed especially hard, like the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Iraq, Laos, Japan, and Germany, periodically find leftover ordnance. But even in the United States people occasionally dig up a projectile from the Civil War.
The scope, however, differs. On Okinawa, construction workers need to sweep sites with metal detectors before breaking the ground, and in Laos, some areas are still untenable for farming due to the high concentration of cluster bomb projectiles left over from the Vietnam War. Dozens of people die every year in Laos in accidental explosions.