Radioactive Fukushima

Many residents of Okuma, a village near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant, are angry about government plans to dump some 30 million tons of radioactive debris raked up after the March 2011 nuclear disaster in a sprawling waste complex on their doorstep. Few believe Tokyo’s assurances that the site will be cleaned up and shut down after 30 years. In the four years since the disaster, Japan has allocated over $15 billion to lower radiation levels around the plant. Every day, teams of workers blast roads with water, scrub down houses, cut branches and scrape contaminated soil off farmland. That radiated trash now sits in plastic sacks across the region, piling up in abandoned rice paddies, parking lots and even residents’ backyards. [16 photos total]

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1
Decontamination workers wearing protective suits and masks, work on big black plastic bags containing radiated soil, leaves and debris from the decontamination operation in Tomioka town, Fukushima prefecture on Feb. 24.. This is near Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
2
A woman is seen at a temporary housing complex covered in snow that accommodates nuclear evacuees from Okuma, a town inside the exclusion zone in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima prefecture, Feb. 17. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
3
Workers operate heavy machinery to remove debris at an area devastated by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Namie town, Fukushima prefecture on Feb 24. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
4
Norio Kimura, 49, who lost his father, wife and daughter in the March 11, 2011 tsunami, offers prayers for his family in front of a monument he made for his family on the hill behind where his home once stood inside the exclusion zone in Okuma town. Japan is trying to build a radioactive waste facility in Kimura's hometown, but he has refused to sell or lease his land to the government. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
5
Workers move big black plastic bags containing radiated soil, leaves and debris from the decontamination operation at a temporary storage site in Tomioka town. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
6
A worker uses a high pressure water washing machine during a radioactive decontamination at a private residence in Tomioka town. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
7
A decontamination worker removes radiated soil and leaves from a bamboo forest in Tomioka town, Fukushima prefecture, Feb. 24. (Toru Hanai/Reutersi) #
8
Tomoko Hoshino, 78, who was evacuated from Okuma, cries as she attends a town hall meeting with the town officials at a temporary housing complex in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima prefecture, Feb. 17. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
9
People who were evacuated from Okuma attend a town hall meeting as Toshitsuna Watanabe, Mayor of Okuma town, stands to speak at a temporary housing complex in Aizuwakamatsu. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
10
Norio Kimura, 49, who lost his father, wife and daughter in the tsunami checks radiation levels among debris from the tsunami near his home land inside the exclusion zone in Okuma town, Feb. 23. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
11
A fishing boat washed up by the tsunami and black plastic bags containing radiated soil, leaves and debris from the decontamination operation are seen in front of cranes and chimneys of tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant through an abandoned house in Namie town, Feb. 24. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
12
Norio Kimura, walks to where his house, which was washed away by massive waves, used to stand inside the exclusion zone in Okuma town. Japan is trying to build a radioactive waste facility in Kimura's hometown, but he has refused to sell or lease his land to the government. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
13
Big black plastic bags containing irradiated material from the decontamination operation are dumped at a seaside devastated by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Tomioka town, Feb. 22. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
14
Decontamination workers wearing protective suits and masks, remove radiated soil and leaves from a forest in Tomioka town, Feb. 24. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
15
Eiichi Shincho,67, walks at a temple, damaged by the earthquake near his home land where Japan is trying to build a radioactive waste facility inside the exclusion zone in Okuma town, Feb. 23. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #
16
Big black plastic bags containing radiated material from the decontamination operation are dumped at a temporary storage site in Tomioka town. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #

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