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Revisiting Fukushima's Ghost Towns

By Brent Murray - 2013-02-15T19:02:38Z

Photograph by James Whitlow Delano/Redux

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Taking Back a Nuclear No-Man's Land

Two years after the record-setting earthquake and subsequent tsunami of March 11, 2011, Iitate-mura, a town in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture that had more than 6,800 residents, remains devastated. Radioactive contamination from the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant left the area uninhabitable, though decontamination efforts began in the past year. Photographer James Whitlow Delano has been documenting the area, located about 22 miles from the damaged Daiichi nuclear reactors.

Here, a farmer wearing a hazmat suit cuts weeds that have taken over his field. He will then plow the contaminated topsoil under, or even remove it altogether, so that one day radiation levels in future crops can meet Japanese national standards.