Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
August 7, 2013

Fukushima Ongoing: More Tragicomic Images As Contaminated Water Crisis Looms

Tepco water leak crisis 1a

So, I’m not sure what’s more terrifying. Is it TEPCO’s latest crisis, the company admitting they will soon be unable to prevent the large-scale release of radioactive water into the ocean, a problem so unmanageable the Japanese government is stepping in? Or, is it the relative lack of international attention and urgency to the situation? This current crisis, by the way, is in addition to the regular discharge of radioactive water into the sea that has been ongoing for the past two years.

Do you remember that tragicomic TEPCO image, released in the early days of the initial disaster, of the emergency worker suggesting the problems at the plant were isolated to one crack? The Kyodo News photos currently being circulated (which, for the lack of other imagery, are being distributed the most widely) have the same almost laughable quality to them. In the shot above, the dimension of the problem (storage tanks almost full; breach of underground barriers; impending breach of offshore water barrier) is, again, almost ludicrous as compared to a photo of a group of reporters busy scribbling as they observe one small, cordoned-off observation well.

Tepco water leak crisis 1

Another photo from Kyoto News ultimately conveys more helplessness and haplessness, especially with the sense of organization as the workers line up. This shot showing local officials inspecting a coastal embankment where contaminated leaks are occurring. Beyond intervention by the Japanese government and international observation by unbiased experts, I also hope for more coverage with more explanatory imagery.

(photo 1 & 2: Kyodo News caption 1: In this Aug. 6, 2013 photo, reporters inspect an observation well which is dug to take underground water samples near Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant Unit 1 of Tokyo Electric Power Co., in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan. Japan’s government said Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, it will step in to tackle contaminated water leaks at the country’s crippled nuclear plant, and is considering funding a multibillion-dollar project to fix the problem. partial caption 2: In this Aug. 6, 2013 photo, officials and experts from local towns inspect a coastal embankment where contaminated water leaks occur near Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant Unit 1 and 2 of Tokyo Electric Power Co., in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan.)

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