Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Icons From The Age of Anxiety: Nuclear Power Plant Disasters

The Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Reactor 1 to 4 from left to right.

The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor after the disaster. Reactor 4 (center). Turbine building (lower left). Reactor 3 (center right).

TMI personnel cleaning up the contaminated auxiliary building — 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident.

Today's Chernobyl Exclusion Zone:

An area extending 19 miles (31 km) in all directions from the plant is known as the "zone of alienation." It is largely uninhabited, except for a few residents who have refused to leave. The area has largely reverted to forest. Even today, radiation levels are so high that the workers responsible for rebuilding the sarcophagus are only allowed to work five hours a day for one month before taking 15 days of rest. Ukrainian officials estimate the area will not be safe for human life again for another 20,000 years.

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