2014 Oct Note: An easier read version is now available at https://medium.com/@witono/fukushima-daini-nuclear-plant-2-years-after-the-tsunami-e511bb8ebb40
On March 21, 2011, a 9-meter-high tsunami struck the town of Naraha and Tomioka in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. This tsunami was triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake on the same day, which is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to hit Japan.
By March 15, all four reactors of the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Plant located in the town were shut down. The damage done was severe, although it escaped the fate of sister nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi. Unlike their sister plant, off-site power was available and workers were able to tap into electricity to power a water injection system, that helped cool the reactors as they shut down.
To reach the place, one has to take a nearly empty train and alight at the Hirono station, 14km away. The quarantine no-go zone is supposed to be lifted by now according to WHO. There are people who stayed in the area after the tsunami, and I see workers doing restoration work on train tracks and houses. Trucks are modified to move along the train track.
A big ratio of their work involves removing the contaminated soil and vegetation that are wrapped up in black trash bags. I see tens, hundreds, and even thousands of such bags lying on the field and along the tracks waiting to be transport away.
The little black thing that sticks out are all bags of contaminated soil and vegetation to be transport away.
Top: Piano, kitchen, doll, pictures of pet cat, and the house.
There are empty playground, stadium, resorts — now living areas for the workers. A tennis court is now the temporary storage space for the black trash bags I saw earlier. There are however not enough beds for everyone, so there are temporary containers meant to house the workers.
The nearest convenient store (closed) next to the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Plant.
As night falls, I decide to hitch a ride from the workers. I meet a man who says he is in his fifties. He is divorced and has a son about my age, choosing to remain to help in restoration. He kindly drove me back to Hirono station whilst his colleague even offered me hot tea from vending machine. These are the unsung heroes.
When I went back to the station, there’s a dog lives next to a shop. When I approached it, it started crying, and hugged my leg the moment I got close enough for some comfort. I give it a piece of chashu I bought from a udon restaurant by the side.
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Special thanks to Xiangyun for editing. Check out her baking and photography at http://tweedlebakes.com/