Dec 6, 2011

Fukushima: Inside the Exclusion Zone


By on Tuesday, December 06, 2011

 After the disasters of March 11, tens of thousands were ordered to leave their homes in the vicinity of the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, some of their footprints now frozen in the mud.
 Two dogs scrap on Okuma's empty streets. In the early days of the crisis the no-go zone was alive with roaming farm animals and pets: cows, pigs, goats, dogs, cats, even ostriches. Often defying police patrols and barricades, volunteer rescuers rounded up and decontaminated some pets, returning them to their owners, and fed others. But by midsummer, a number of the pets had perished of starvation and disease.
 Futon bedding is usually folded and stored in closets each morning. But residents had no chance to put their homes in order before their hasty exodus, prompted by evacuation orders on televised news conferences before dawn on March 12. This bedroom is in Okuma, less than three miles from the damaged nuclear plant. Town officials in the area have accused power company Tepco of violating its duty to warn them of the crisis.
In a gym in Hirono, residents in protective suits are briefed before being escorted to their homes for a June 8 visit and to retrieve a few small items. (There's no room on the bus for larger things.) Although the trips in were strictly controlled, a town official says that for the decontamination process - disposing of shoe covers, suits, caps, and masks and being screened for radiation - everyone and everything was waved through.
 Evacuation drills are common in Japan's earthquake zones. So when the real thing happened in March, the children knew what to do - and expected to return in a few days. Months have gone by since the students fled. Still sitting in the classroom cubbies are the leather book bags that can cost several hundred dollars apiece and are one of a Japanese child's most valuable and cherished possessions. They will likely never be reclaimed.
 An evacuee relaxes in her makeshift dwelling on the floor of the Big Palette convention center. The crammed emergency quarters lack privacy, and disease can spread rapidly. Older residents, who spent their lives in tight-knit rural communities, are often reluctant to move into temporary housing, isolated from friends and family. Social workers are trying to prevent a wave of kodoku-shi, or lonely death, among solitary seniors.
 A deserted street inside the contaminated exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, viewed through a bus window near Okuma, Japan, on November 12, 2011.
 A deserted field and buildings inside the contaminated exclusion zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, near Okuma, Japan, on November 12, 2011.
 A deserted neighborhood inside Japan's contaminated exclusion zone, near Okuma, Japan, on November 12, 2011.
 Units five and six of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, viewed through a bus window in Futaba, Japan, on November 12, 2011. Media allowed into Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant for the first time Saturday saw a striking scene of devastation: twisted and overturned vehicles, crumbling reactor buildings and piles of rubble virtually untouched since the wave struck more than eight months ago.
 The Unit 4 reactor building of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, in Okuma, Japan, on November 12, 2011.
 A closer view of the Unit 4 reactor building of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, seen through a bus window in Okuma, Japan, on November 12, 2011.
 Workers in protective clothing walk to enter a radiation screening post after arriving at J-Village, a soccer training complex now serving as an operation base for those battling Japan's nuclear disaster at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, on November 11, 2011.
 An official from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. wears protective plastic bags over his shoes inside the emergency operation center at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Okuma, on November 12, 2011.
 Officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Japanese journalists pass by a newly built sea barricade next to the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Okuma, on November 12, 2011.
 Parts of the heavily-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, viewed through a bus window in Okuma, on November 12, 2011.
 In this November 12, 2011 photo, workers in protective suits and masks wait to enter the emergency operation center at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Okuma, Japan. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused massive death and destruction across northeastern Japan. But those who live near the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant face a burden atop the losses they've already suffered: a fear of radiation that experts say could prove more unhealthy in the long run than the still-low levels of leaked radiation itself.
 Damage inside the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, seen in Okuma, Japan, on November 12, 2011.
 A man is checked for radiation after arriving at a vehicle decontamination center at J-Village, a soccer training complex now serving as an operation base for those battling Japan's nuclear disaster at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on November 11, 2011.
A worker is screened for radiation after removing and discarding his protective suit as he arrives at J-Village, near the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, on November 11, 2011.

4 comments:

  1. sad. very very sad!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks like it was pretty much a craphole even before the big bang

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, what a lame, punk tarded comment.

    ReplyDelete