Media allowed into Japans tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant for the first time Saturday saw a striking scene of devastation: twisted and overturned trucks,crumbling reactor buildings and piles of rubble virtually untouched since the wave struck more than eight months ago.
Representatives of the Japanese and international media were allowed into the plant with the governments chief official in charge of the worlds worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. The tour was intended to demonstrate how much the situation at the plant has stabilised since the March 11 tsunami.
Mangled trucks,flipped over by the wave,remain along the roads inside. Piles of rubble stand where the walls of the plants reactor structures crumbled,and large pools of water still cover parts of the sprawling campus.
For weeks after the tsunami,the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant,about 225 kilometres northeast of Tokyo,spewed large amounts of radioactive materials onto the surrounding countryside,much of which remains off-limits.
The government has predicted that it will take another 30 years at least to safely remove the nuclear fuel and decommission the plant. It could also be decades before tens of thousands of residents forced to flee the 20-kilometre exclusion zone around the plant will be able to return. Some experts say even that estimate is optimistic.