"Devastation at Japan Site, Seen Up Close"

"FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI NUCLEAR POWER PLANT, Japan -- The most striking feature at this crippled plant on Saturday was not the blasted-out reactor buildings, or the makeshift tsunami walls, but the chaotic mess."

"The ground around the hulking reactor buildings was littered with mangled trucks, twisted metal beams and broken building frames, left mostly as they were after one of the world’s largest recorded earthquakes started a chain reaction that devastated the region and, to some extent, Japan. The damage reached the second story, a testament to the size of the tsunami that slammed into the reactor buildings, which sit 33 feet above the sea.

In a country as orderly as Japan, the fact that the scene has changed so little since the early days of the disaster eight months ago is as telling a sign as any of the daunting tasks workers have faced as they struggled to regain control of the plant’s three badly damaged reactors.

The press tour of the site, the first since disaster struck March 11, appeared to be Tokyo Electric Power Company’s way of declaring its confidence that it was close to stabilizing the plant.

That message was driven home by the minister supervising the government’s response to the nuclear accident, Goshi Hosono, who visited the plant at the same time as the journalists. Speaking to hundreds of workers crammed into the plant’s crisis response center, he praised their hard work in difficult and dangerous conditions."

Martin Fackler reports for the New York Times November 12, 2011.

SEE ALSO:

"Radioactive Cesium Spread as Far as Gunma-Nagano Border" (Asahi Shimbun)

"Japan Fukushima Reactor: Eight Months After Nuclear Disaster, Plant Remains In Shambles" (AP)

"Japan's Fukushima Plant Opened To Journalists" (Guardian)

Source: NY Times, 11/14/2011