One photographer had the opportunity to get a rare look inside the abandoned radioactive towns of Fukushima, Japan four years after two natural disasters triggered a meltdown at the nuclear plant.
Arkadiusz Podniesiński, 44, is a Polish photographer and filmmaker who received special permits to visit the towns in Fukushima affected by radiation from the infamous nuclear accident of 2011. The sights he witnessed tell a tragic story of the people who were forced to leave their homes following the nearby power plant meltdown.
Photographer Arkadiusz Podniesinski captured these images. To do so, he had to wear protective clothing.
Here, dozens of vehicles remain parked in the overgrown bushes. This used to be a road near the power plant.
Many vehicles now lie almost completely covered by the wilderness, which has remained untouched since the accident in 2011.
This motorbike is chained to the same pole where it was left just hours before the tsunami.
After four years without maintenance, the foliage is basically swallowing the entire area and everything in it.
There is also an amusement park in the exclusion zone. These go-karts haven’t been moved or touched since.
The images are comparable to a scene from The Walking Dead: A post-apocalyptic outpost where no people can go anymore.
Photographer Arkandiusz Podniesinski showed a radiation reading of 6.7 uSv/h inside the dangerous fallout zone.
These ground breaks were caused by the earthquake, which led to the tsunami. The cows are the property of a man named Masami Yoshizawa, who insisted upon returning to his farm after the disaster.
A stack of contaminated televisions remain dumped near Fukushima.
This aerial photograph shows dump sites that house the massive amounts of contaminated soil.
To save space, the radioactive bags of soil are stacked on top of one another.
Locals have been promised that all of the contaminated soil has been disposed of, but many remain skeptical and have kept their distance.
Some residents who were evacuated, like Kouichi Nozawa, have been moved to temporary housing outside the exclusion zone, with no real idea of when they can come back.
Four years after the disasters, everything is basically as it was on that tragic day.
Computer screens nearby the plant are now damaged and covered in waste.
This nearby supermarket was totally abandoned and is now covered in eery cobwebs.
Dozens of abandoned bikes lie chained to bike rails.
A local school gymnasium was damaged by the shaking.
A classroom blackboard still displays the scribbles of what children were learning the moment the earthquake struck.
The workers responsible for cleaning the area have to wear lots of protective clothing.
Not long after the accident, cows started to get these white spots. Farmers believe it’s from the contaminated grass.
Here, a ruined music room remains after the residents were evacuated.
Everything surrounded the exclusion zone in Fukushima seems to be perfectly preserved in time, a heavy-hearted reminder of what happened there.