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Photographer and filmmaker Arkadiusz Podniesinski visits Fukushima

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When I visited Chernobyl for the first time 7 years ago, I didn’t think that a similar disaster could take place anywhere ever again, and certainly not in Japan. After all, nuclear power is safe and the technology is less and less prone to failure, and therefore a similar disaster cannot happen in the future. Scientists said this, firms that build nuclear power stations said this, and the government said this.

But it did happen.

When I was planning my trip to Fukushima I didn’t know what to expect. There the language, culture, traditions and customs are different, and what would I find there four years after the accident? Would it be something similar to Chernobyl?


This photographic documentary is not intended to tell the story of the events surrounding the disaster yet again. Like the incident that occurred on 26 April 1986, most readers know the story well. It is worth mentioning one very important aspect, however, which is an essential issue as we consider the story further. It is not earthquakes or tsunami that are to blame for the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, but humans. The report produced by the Japanese parliamentary committee investigating the disaster leaves no doubt about this. The disaster could have been forseen and prevented. As in the Chernobyl case, it was a human, not technology, that was mainly responsible for the disaster.

As will be seen shortly, the two disasters have much more in common.


Immediately after the disaster at the Fukushima power station an area of 3 km, and later 20 km, was designated from which approximately 160 000 residents were forcibly evacuated. Chaos, and an inefficient system of monitoring radiation levels, resulted in many families being divided up or evacuated to places where the contamination was even greater. In the months and years that followed, as readings became more precise, the boundaries of the zone evolved. The zone was divided up according to the level of contamination and the likelihood that residents would return.

Four years after the accident more than 120 000 people are still not able to return to their homes, and many of them are still living in temporary accommodation specially built for them. As with Chernobyl, some residents defied the order to evacuate and returned to their homes shortly after the disaster. Some never left.



Awesome pictures of the Fukushima exclusion zone. No one is talking about Fukushima in our news, it's as if it never happened. 

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I don't know about nuclear radiation. Some ct says the bombs dropped on Japan were tons and tons of tnt and napalm.

Chernobyl is still supposed to be highly radioactive, yet wildlife has returned. -----


The world's worst nuclear accident created a radiation-soaked wasteland. But nature has pushed its way through the cracked concrete, as Andrew Osborn reports


Tuesday 4 April 2006


Less than a mile from what is left of Chernobyl's ill-fated fourth reactor, a pair of elks is grazing nonchalantly on land irradiated by the world's worst nuclear accident. In nearby Pripyat, an eerie husk of a town where 50,000 people used to live before they were forced to flee on a terrifying afternoon in 1986, a Soviet urban landscape is rapidly giving way to wild European woodland.


Radiation levels remain far too high for human habitation but the abandoned town is filled with birdsong and the gurgling of streams forged by melting snow. Nobody thought it possible at the time but 20 years after the reactor exploded on 26 April 1986, during an ill-conceived "routine" Soviet experiment, Chernobyl's radiation-soaked "dead zone" is not looking so dead after all.


The zone - an area with a radius of 18 miles in modern-day Ukraine - lives on in the popular imagination as a post-apocalyptic wasteland irreparably poisoned with strontium and caesium that would make a perfect setting for the next Mad Max movie. It is a corner of Europe associated with death and alarming yet nebulous stories of genetic mutation, a post-nuclear badland that shows what happens when mankind gets atomic energy wrong.


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