On March 11, 2011 a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan. The earthquake caused a tsunami that caused great damage to some of the northern provinces of Japan. Fukushima province was among one of the worst hit. A nuclear power plant located in Fukushima was severely damaged by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. It was and still is the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. There have not been many major nuclear reactor meltdowns since nuclear power was introduced as a mass-energy source. We do know however that even with protective equipment, side effects can occur. Clean up crews that were sent in to deal with the Fukushima disaster are starting to develop cancer years after their exposure. Studying the areas that are affected by nuclear disaster is considerably difficult because of the high levels of radiation that are present in the areas immediately surrounding the nuclear reactors. A photographer named Arkadiusz Podniesinski decided to brave the elements (literally) and capture what the site of the nuclear disaster looks like 12 years later. He has also visited many other abandoned places and documented his journeys. The results of journey are absolutely incredible and are must see. Check out pictures of the Fukushima exclusion zone below.
This was once a road leading into the Fukushima Power Plant. Even in just 12 years, it has become completely overgrown. This pictures reminds me of the opening episode of The Walking Dead when Rick is riding the horse into Atlanta.
It’s amazing how quickly nature will take back all the work that humans have put into our civilization throughout thousands of years. You can’t even see some of these cars because they are so overgrown with plant matter. I can’t imagine the panic of having to evacuate straight from your vehicle during a disaster like this.
Arkadiusz brought a Geiger counter with him to measure the levels of radiation that were around him. A Geiger counter contains a tube filled with an inert gas that will become conductive of electricity when it is bombarded with high energy particles. Areas around Chernobyl will not be habitable for another 20,000 years because the half-life of the isotopes generated have a longer half-life than most.
These plants look like they reached out and grabbed this motorcycle and are pulling it into the ground. It reminds me of when that plant pulled that car into the forest in Jumanji.
Absolutely nothing was safe from the radiation that spread throughout Fukushima. In an attempt at a cleanup, these T.V.’s were piled up together for disposal. The area seems to have not been touched by a cleanup crew in a long time however.
Piles of food litter the floor of this supermarket as cobwebs slowly take over the entire aisle. To think that only 12 years ago this place was full of life doesn’t seem possible.
It looks like there were people in here shopping when this area was evacuated. You have baskets that are still full of items from people who were checking out at the registers. This seriously looks like something straight out of the The Walking Dead.
This photo is from a village on the outskirts of Fukushima. This was once a computer lab, but as you can see, it’s mostly animals and their droppings that frequent this area now.
This place almost looks like people are still living here. This table with portable cookers looks like it was behind a hurry. These shots into the daily lives of the people who used to live here are incredibly surreal.
This amusement park is located within the 12.5 mile exclusion zone. This was probably one of them more popular places around this area for people to hang out and socialize. These karts have definitely seen their last race however.
Beautiful music likely emanated from this room years ago. All that is left now are instruments and the silence that accompanies them.
The damage to this school gymnasium was caused by the earthquake which was a magnitude 9.0 on the Richter Scale. That is an extremely powerful earthquake!
Bicycles are a common mode of transportation in Japan. All these were left behind when the earthquake hit and reactor melted down.
A classroom with the days lessons still scrawled on the chalk board. I can’t imagine being a child in school and having to evacuate the area I grew up in.
This arcade was probably a favorite gathering spot for kids after school. It now stands deserted, most likely to never see a soul again.
If I gave you 20 guesses you would probably never guess what is in these thousands upon thousands of garbage bags.
The piles and piles of garbage bags you see in front of you contain contaminated soil from the disaster site. They are stacked on top of each other to save space.
All these bags of contaminated soil need to go somewhere. Officials have told the property owners that these will be disposed of. The owners remain skeptical it will ever get done though. How would you feel having all this contaminated soil
Cows that live in the region of the disaster started to show white spots in their fur after the meltdown. Farmers believe these occurred after the cows started eating contaminated grass from the area. These poor animals. They have no idea what is going on and radiation poisoning is not something I would ever want any living thing to go through.
This sign reads, “Nuclear energy is the energy of a bright future.” I really don’t think this is the bright future they were talking about.
The Fukushima exclusion zone is still completely uninhabitable. What’s even worse is that a large amount of this radiation is now spreading into the ocean off the coast of Japan and infecting the wildlife living in the water. The media has all but forgotten about what happened in Japan 12 years ago. The environment and the people who had to deal with the aftermath and cleanup of this disaster have been dealing with the consequences for many years now. If you want to see more of Arkadiusz Podniesinski photos, check out his website at https://www.podniesinski.pl.