For the first month in the eight months since an earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima nuclear power station, the Japanese government has opened the once very contaminated area to media. To showcase its progress, the government only let four foreign media outlets inside, including Martin Fackler for The New York Times, who details his observations for their Lede blog. Today, journalists were taken through J-Village, the sports complex next to the plant, which has been converted into a contamination area. Tomorrow, they will go into the actual plant. Here are some of Fackler's observations paired with photos by the AP's David Guttenfelder, who was the tour's pool photographer.
J-Village consists of 12 soccer fields that are now used for radiation screening, heavy equipment storage, parking and decontamination. A few of the soccer stadiums have also been converted into dorms for employees. "There are 1,000 rooms in prefabricated, two-story buildings on the field, surrounded by rows of empty blue bleachers," explains Fackler. Below, a man walks between dorms, with a defunct score board in the backgound.
Before entering and when leaving the plant from the village, workers go through radiation contamination detectors, like the one seen below, to monitor radiation levels.