Photos show workers' eye views of Fukushima disaster aftermath

February 02, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

The operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has released a barrage of images, many taken by workers themselves, showing chaos at the site as three reactors were going into partial meltdown.

Among the 2,145 photos are images of the No. 3 reactor building littered with debris from a hydrogen explosion on March 14, 2011.

Others show damage wrought by the tsunami, which struck on March 11.

And some portray efforts by emergency workers to spray water into the No. 4 reactor building, where fuel rods lying in a storage pool were losing their critical covering of coolant.

One image shows a part of the site where someone had marked the ground with a chilling warning: The spray-painted word reads "Kiken," or "Danger!"

The photos date from March 15 to April 11, 2011. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. gathered them from various sources after asking employees and subcontractors to submit any photos they themselves had taken.

Releasing the images is an apparent bid to convince the public of conditions faced by those workers and the difficulty of recovery work.

The company said it received many more photos than those released, but decided to withhold 849, citing "protection of sensitive data" related to nuclear technology.

It is the largest release of images since the utility published a first batch of 600 photos in September 2012.

Some of the images can be seen at the TEPCO website, where they first went live Feb. 1.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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The destroyed covering at the No. 3 reactor building following a hydrogen explosion. The photo was taken on March 15, 2011. (Provided by TEPCO)

The destroyed covering at the No. 3 reactor building following a hydrogen explosion. The photo was taken on March 15, 2011. (Provided by TEPCO)

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  • The destroyed covering at the No. 3 reactor building following a hydrogen explosion. The photo was taken on March 15, 2011. (Provided by TEPCO)
  • Part of the site where the tsunami would have swept in, ripping apart critical systems. This photo was taken on March 17, 2011, six days after the quake and tsunami. (Provided by TEPCO)
  • Highly radioactive debris identified near the No. 1 reactor. A warning left in white paint reads "Kiken," or "Danger!" The photo was taken on March 31, 2011. (Provided by TEPCO)

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