I’m sure everyone reading this can cast their minds back to March 2011, when the Fukushima nuclear power plant went into meltdown causing one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. Since then, the city has remained untouched and uninhabitable.
Polish photographer Arkadiusz Podniesinski first snuck into the city about a year ago to take some photographs of it and he has returned again to take some more snaps, describing the experience with words too:
Exactly a year has passed since my first visit to Fukushima, a visit which strengthened my belief of how catastrophic the consequences of nuclear disasters can be.
A visit that also highlighted how great the human and financial efforts to return contaminated and destroyed cities to a state suitable for re-habitation can be.
The Japanese, particularly politicians and officials, do not like and are even offended by comparisons between Fukushima and Chernobyl.
It is, however, difficult not to do so when analogies are visible everywhere.
While the fact that the direct causes of the disasters are different, the result is almost identical.
A tragedy for the hundreds of thousands of evacuated residents, hundreds of thousands of hectares of land contaminated, and decades of time and billions of dollars devoted to eliminating the results of the disaster. And the first cases of thyroid cancer.
Despite the government pumping billions of pounds into the decontamination of the exclusion zones, only around 17.8% of evacuated residents would want to come back. 31.5% of people are unsure and 48% never want to return.
It’s not the surprising, given the complete collapse of social and economic infrastructure in the exclusion zones. There’s literally nothing to go back to as you can see from these photographs.
They certainly prove that, showing a bleak and unlived in ghost town, that will probably never ever be inhabited again:
Cold, hard and miserable.
If this hasn’t depressed you enough, then you can check out former residents returning to familiar locations and being photographed doing it. Just as sad.