Fukushima ghost towns


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An empty shopping street is seen in Tomioka town, inside the exclusion zone of a 20km radius around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Fukushima prefecture, January 15, 2012. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was hit on March 11, 2011 by a tsunami that exceeded 15 metres in some areas. The tsunami knocked out the plant's cooling systems, resulting in meltdowns of nuclear fuel, and became the world's worst atomic crisis in 25 years. The government announced in December that reactors at the plant had reached a state of cold shutdown, a milestone in cleanup efforts and a pre-condition for allowing the return of about 80,000 residents evacuated from a 20km (12 miles) radius of the Daiichi plant. The government also said it would draw up new evacuation zones by the end of April, and areas where annual radiation levels are currently higher than 50 millisieverts would not be deemed suitable for living for at least five years. REUTERS/Stringer