2012 Photo Contest, General News, Stories, 3rd prize

Japan's Nuclear Refugees

Photographer

David Guttenfelder

The Associated Press for <em>National Geographic</em> magazine

19 June, 2011

Coveted leather book bags remain in the cubby holes of a hastily evacuated classroom, months after the Fukushima nuclear incident. Children receive regular evacuation drills, so knew what to do, but were expecting to return in a few days.

About

David Guttenfelder

Guttenfelder previously spent 20 years as a photojournalist for the Associated Press based in Nairobi, Abidjan, New Delhi, and Tokyo covering news in more than 75 countries aroun...

Background story

Namie, Fukushima prefecture, Japan

Coveted leather book bags remain in the cubby holes of a hastily evacuated classroom, months after the Fukushima nuclear incident. Children receive regular evacuation drills, so knew what to do, but were expecting to return in a few days. The Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan damaged vital cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Blasts occurred in a series of reactors, leading to nuclear meltdown and a release of radioactive material, in what was seen as the world’s most serious nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. A 20-kilometer exclusion zone was declared around the plant, and more than 80,000 people were evacuated. The exclusion zone remained in place for months after the incident, with the Japanese government predicting it could take 40 years to fully decommission the plant and clean up surrounding areas.

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/50 sec
Focal length
24 mm
F-Stop
f/4.5
ISO
500

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