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from Cancer in Context:

MD Anderson Cancer Center: Grand Central Station with fewer words, more emotions

It’s noon and the lobby in the main building of the MD Anderson Cancer Center is buzzing. My appointment is over and I’ve got nothing to do. Houston's heat is too much for a walk outside, so I linger.

The velocity of this place resembles Grand Central Station, but there’s far more emotion and fewer words. People are rushing, though many can't keep up. Some are in wheelchairs, some with walkers, and some shuffle along, weakly. There are able-bodied patients like me, as wells as doctors, nurses, a vast support staff and an army of volunteers. 

A pretty young woman hurries down the hallway. She’s letting her hair grow back, the light brown fuzz still sparse, evidently indifferent to wearing a scarf or wig. Probably too hot. She can make this look work, thanks to her fit body, pretty eyes, fine features. 

A middle-aged woman retreats from a clutch of people and turns to face a window, quietly convulsing. “Just tell them to make her comfortable,” she says through sobs. I realize I’m eavesdropping. I stop.

from Photographers' Blog:

A visit to Fukushima Ground Zero

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By Issei Kato

“This day finally came.”

That was my first impression when I was chosen as a pool photographer on behalf of foreign media based in Japan to visit the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

We were allowed to enter the plant last Monday, ahead of Japan’s one-year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami, which triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. The media tour was the first to take place since the Japanese government announced in December that reactors at the plant had reached a stage of cold shutdown. We were allowed to cover not just from inside a bus, but from a certain outlying spot close to a reactor building for 15 minutes.

from Photographers' Blog:

Tragedy in Fukushima: when can we go back to home again?

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After covering myself from head to toe in protective clothing in the hope of protecting me from radiation, I went to accompany evacuees who were temporarily allowed to visit their homes in the 20 km no-entry zone surrounding the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, a place now notorious for its radiation leaks.

My destination was Okuma town where the whole population of about 11,000 had been evacuated since last year’s earthquake. The town is still afflicted with high levels of invisible radiation.

from Photographers' Blog:

Fukushima’s invisible fear

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By Issei Kato

These days, a mask, protective clothing and radiation counter have all become a usual part of reporting trips, as essential as a camera, lenses and a laptop. Soon, this situation will have gone on for a full year.

The 20 km (12 mile) zone around Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is now a virtual ghost town after being evacuated of residents due to radiation. I asked a friend, who was forced by the disaster to leave the area and has been searching for a way to resume work, for help, and was able to enter the area where he used to live.

from Photographers' Blog:

Invisible snow

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Invisible Snow from Reuters Tokyo Pictures on Vimeo.

When the Fukushima nuclear power plant exploded, I was in Fukushima covering people who had evacuated from their houses near the plant, as they underwent radiation checks as authorities isolated those who had showed signs of exposure.

The disaster control center in the prefectural government hall in Fukushima city, situated about 63 km (39 miles) north-west of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, was chaotic. However, once I stepped out the building, everything around me looked the same in the city and it was difficult to comprehend what was actually happening. People in the city were walking their dogs outside and riding their bicycles on the streets, although lights were out and many places were experiencing cuts in water supplies.

from Photographers' Blog:

Beefing up radiation checks

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Since covering the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March, I have photographed various radiation scenes in the months that followed.

Starting with shocking scenes of people who were actually contaminated with radiation being cleansed and scenes of people being isolated into a building.

from Photographers' Blog:

Chernobyl graves

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Every year Orthodox Christians in Belarus throng to local cemeteries to commemorate their deceased relatives and loved ones on the ninth day after Easter, following an ancient Slavic rite on a revered day called Radunitsa. They tidy up tombs and adorn them with wreaths, and bow their heads in somber silence.

But in the southeast of Belarus, people stream to a tightly guarded area surrounded by solid fences and barbed wire, where whole villages were evicted 25 years ago after being contaminated with deadly radiation spewed by a blown up reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in neighboring Ukraine.

from Photographers' Blog:

Japan’s nuclear crisis and my life

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As a Reuters photographer, I have covered many disasters and incidents over the last ten years but these things had little direct affect on my life. Just like the saying: “The photographer must be taken out of the picture”, I was a third party in most of these cases. By and large, those catastrophes had nothing to do with my personal life. Once my assignment was over, I used to go back to my normal life and switch from emergency mode.

But last month’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that sparked the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in Japan was different. I am not exempt from the fear caused by the disaster nor am I immune to the threat of the invisible nuclear radiation.

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures, March 27, 2011

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Japan continues to dominate the file from Asia with new photograhers rotating in to cover the twists and turns of this complex and tragic  story.  In a country were the nation rarely buries its dead, the site of mass graves is quite a shocking scene to behold. Holes the length of football pitches are dug in the ground with mechanical digggers and divided into individual plots by the military and are then filled with the coffins of the victims of the tsunami. Family members come to weep and pray over the graves. Some are namless and marked only with DNA details, others bear the names of the victims. There is not enough power or fuel to cremate the thousands of bodies that are being recovered from the disaster zone. 

JAPAN-QUAKE/

Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force carry a coffin of a victim of the earthquake and tsunami to be buried at a temporary mass grave site in Higashi-Matsushima, in Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan March 24, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

from The Great Debate:

The cantankerous effects from Japan’s radiation

JAPAN-QUAKE/

Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, president of Environmental Health Trust, is an award-winning scientist and writer on environmental health issues, author of "The Secret History of the War on Cancer," and "Disconnect" who served as the founding director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 1983-93. The opinions expressed are her own.

The discovery of ionizing radiation at the turn of the nineteenth century revolutionized science and society. Within two weeks of their being created at the end of 1895, the stunning x-ray images of his wife's bejeweled hand that physics professor Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen had taken appeared in major newspapers around the world. From Paris, to London and Tokyo, scientists and celebrities engaged in a world-wide medical vogue with fashionable x-ray parties featuring popular demonstrations of moving skeletons.

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