AP Photo: A restricted area near the nuclear plant once hosted outings
Written by Mary Yamaguchi
Tomioka, Japan (AP) – A portion of Tomioka town, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, remains a no-go zone 10 years after the collapse that caused radioactive fallout on the area.
The Exclusion Zone accounts for about 12% of the city, but it was also home to about a third of Tomioka’s 16,000 residents. It remains closed after the rest of the city reopened in northeastern Japan in 2017.
Only those who have official permission from the city office can enter the area to visit during the day.
Part of the area, called Yunomori, used to be a mall dotted with shops, homes, a small 7-Eleven store and a popular regional supermarket chain called York Benimaru.
The area also includes Yunomori Park, surrounded by cherry tree-lined streets, where townspeople often gather for “hanami” parties, stroll under the flowers and walk through a tunnel of flowering trees.
This part of the restricted area has been designated as a special recovery site and officials want to reopen it in 2023. The other half of the area is a nuclear waste dump, an area filled with black bags containing radioactive soil, chopped into tree branches and other contaminated debris collected from all Over the city. The bags will eventually be sent to a medium-term waste storage facility in Futaba and Acoma, the two cities hosting the nuclear plant.