Journalists have been visiting the abandoned towns caught in the 20km evacuation zone surrounding the ruined Fukusimi Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, revealing mildly radioactive ghost towns and packs of abandoned animals amidst the unrepaired devastation of the earthquake and tsunami, all of which have inspired unpleasant parallels to the “Zone of Alienation” surrounding Chernobyl.
Photographs from a Chinese journalist:
The horses would likely have died from simple dehydration rather than anything radiation related.
A rather less melodramatic but no less illustrative video report, with a reporter approaching to within 1.5km of the stricken plant:
At the levels of radiation recorded, humans would exceed their maximum acceptable annual radiation doses in days or hours, although even at these levels there would be no immediate danger to health.
For comparison, in the abandoned town of Pripyat near Chernobyl ambient radiation exposure is several hundred times higher than the levels seen in the town above.
The sheer genius of building 4 nuclear reactors mere metres from a shore regularly battered by tsunami will doubtless be remembered for some time.