Evacuated towns surrounding Fukushima face uncertain future
January 1, 2014 at 6:30 PM EDT
An official in a full radiation protection suit scans an evacuated mother and child with a geiger counter to check radiation levels in Koriyama city in Fukushima prefecture, about 60km west from the crisis-hit Fukushima nuclear plant on March 16, 2011. Photo by Ken Shimizu/AFP/Getty Images
With recent leaks of contaminated water and a problematic clean-up process at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, many Japanese towns remain ghost towns, nearly three years after a major earthquake and tsunami caused a dangerous radiation leak.
Those living within the 20-mile evacuation zone have to decide whether they will ever return to their former hometowns, but locals, the Guardian reported, don’t think many younger people will return. And, as of right now, no one is allowed to stay overnight.
Reuters also reported that some evacuees remain concerned that radiation would still pose health risks even after decontamination.
With the decommissioning process of the nuclear plant expected to take up to 40 years, some residents from the most contaminated areas of the evacuation zone will not be able to return to their homes until 2017 at the earliest.