back to article Google sends Street View car into Fukushima dead zone

Google’s Street View project took an unusual left turn this week after one of it's familiar camera mounted cars took to the streets of Namie – a town in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture deserted nearly two years ago after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. A Google spokesperson confirmed to The Reg that the unusual …


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  1. Richard Jones 1

    Who Is Doing The Street Cleaning

    Wow, no one lives there, the rubble is still lying where it fell yet the streets are cleaner than in my nearest (inhabited) towns near me here in UK.

    1. ratfox

      It's Japan

      Dirt has been forbidden by law in the 70s.

      More seriously, I wonder when this area will become a den of squatters who don't care about the radioactivity.

      1. Mips

        Re: It's Japan


        Crikey! This is Japan we are talking about.

    2. TooDeep

      Re: Who Is Doing The Street Cleaning

      I visited last year. The tsunamic-smashed coastal plains are now very clean with well organised large mounds of segregated debris. The exclusion zone around the reactors is small now and so there are perfectly accessible but effectively deserted towns in the vicinity because the economies have been ruined/folk are still afraid.

    3. petur

      Re: Who Is Doing The Street Cleaning

      There are no people around to litter....

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Who Is Doing The Street Cleaning

        There are no "Freedom" camps-of-Stalkers.

        Back to serious. For anyone who can read german:

        Fukushima - 2 years after

        With the restricted areas at end-of-2012 depicted:


        Area 1: Load < 20 mSv/y - You can move around but can't stay the night.

        Area 2: Load > 20 mSv/y - Restricted access

        Area 3: Load > 30 mSv/y - Only short-time access under special circumstances permitted

        1. JaitcH
          Thumb Up

          Re: Who Is Doing The Street Cleaning

          Great map - thanks for sharing. It puts the whole accident into realistic terms that make it better understood by many.

        2. itzman

          Re: Who Is Doing The Street Cleaning

          Bear in mind Dartmoor and Cornwall are around 20-30mSV/y. Much more so where there are granite outcroppings.

          Ramsar in Iran peaks at over 100mSV/yr.

          The situation is frankly ludicrous.

          1. TeeCee Gold badge

            Re: Who Is Doing The Street Cleaning

            Reminds of the flannel over the storage and disposal of "low level nuclear waste".

            It's difficult to be worried when you look into it and find you're talking about someone's old lab coat......

          2. praos

            Re: Who Is Doing The Street Cleaning

            Yes, but radiations in Dartmoor and Cornwall are green (natural) and so balming and politically correct. Likewise, if you fell from you roof fixing solar panels, the snow-white (clean) angels will carry you straight to Paradise. If you die hit by alpha-particle from a passing spent-fuel container, then polluted (a lot of sulfur dioxide!) Hell is your fare. Yes, all radiations are equal, but some radiations are more equal than other.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Who Is Doing The Street Cleaning

          On that basis half of Helsinki should be level 3, thanks to all the granite.

  2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Unsecured WiFi

    I wonder how many unsecured WiFi routers Google found?

    1. Yag

      Re: Unsecured WiFi

      I wonder if they had the smartness of adding a geiger counter to their usual "snooping around" toolkit...

      1. DJ Smiley
        Thumb Up

        Re: Unsecured WiFi

        You know, while this is a joke, it'd be a really REALLY good idea.

        They could map out how much radiation they are seeing at various points to give some kind of "spread" map.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Unsecured WiFi

          It's probably easier to send a Global Hawk to do precise mapping for that.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Unsecured WiFi

            Nope, you want to know the ground-level information, not a few hundred metres up.

            I really hope they did include measuring the radiation - in fact, it would also be very interesting to do that everywhere.

            I'd love it if radiation levels around the world became well-known, in the medium term it would remove the hysteria and replace it with the simple respect radiation deserves.

            We'd all be safer for that.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What I want to see is a picture of the Mutant Ninja Turtle (TM) who is taking the picture of the Google car!

  4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge


    Doesn't Google also have self-driving cars? Why not stick a google eye on top of one of them & let it prowl?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Using those self-driving cars is dangerous. It might become self-aware due to the radiation, take control over the nearby power plant and transform into our worst enemy.

      1. Pet Peeve

        Re: @Phil

        Ha, or become 50 feet tall and go rampaging down the highway.

        Seriously though, I thought the idea was that the car actually was self-driven for this. It's hard to tell, but I don't see a driver in the photo.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: @Phil

          That may be because it's the guy actually taking the photograph?

          Another Map of Japan, sadly not with underlying images.

          I once amused myself to overlay Fukushima and Chernobyl maps. As El Reg does not provide image upload, I shall upload this to a known den of scum and villany, where it survives only limited time:


  5. Yet Another Commentard

    Is there any data

    On the actual level of radioactivity there? I mean, is it like some bits of Fallout's Wasteland, or more like Cornwall or that desert in Iran?

    Is this something the g-mobile could record?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Is there any data

      Precise data exists! See above for link, or see page 35 and 43 of

      It's in german though.

      On page 37, they have reused the XKCD chart w/o credit....

      Course, how much is in the sushi now?

    2. itzman

      Re: Is there any data

      More like Cornwall.

      Only a narrow corridor is actually above 30mSV/yr.

      There's an especially good article here..

      Combine that with the actual medical stats as highlighted by Wade Allison* and frankly, there's no reason not to live even there.

      The problem is of course that if someone did, and - for unrelated reasons - died of cancer or something, the lawsuits would cost more than the loss of the reactor.

      *Radiation and Reason.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They should do this around Chernobyl and surrounding area's.

    1. garden-snail

      Re: Russia

      Last time I checked, Chernobyl was not in Russia.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Russia

        Its Friday cut me some slack!

  7. ItsNotMe

    Sure hope the driver is wearing leaden knickers...

    ...or never plans to have children.

    1. itzman

      Re: Sure hope the driver is wearing leaden knickers...

      Don't be silly. I got more radiation last week from a CAT scan than Id get spending 6 months living in the exclusion zone.

    2. Old Handle

      Re: Sure hope the driver is wearing leaden knickers...

      Even though, as another response pointed out, the driver wouldn't be in danger, why send one? This seems like a perfect opportunity to find out just how good the autonomous mode is on those things.

  8. SD24576

    Still waiting for Lewis Page's article backtracking on his claims of how it was all overblown and would have no significant effects. That 5km scale mark is pretty small - this is a significant and large area that has effectively been rendered uninhabitable as a result of the disaster. (Disclaimer: I still believe in nuclear power as a viable energy source, just that the triumphalist tone of his repeated articles around that time got a bit wearing)

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Not "uninhabitable", merely "uninhabited"

      As a few earlier posts have pointed out, most of the evacuated area is less radioactive than Cornwall.

      Unfortunately there is an outright panic attack whenever radioactivity is mentioned, regardless of the actual level.

      Going through US airport security (excluding the flight) probably used to give you a bigger dose due to the X-ray backscatter machine than a day's visit to the "Area 2"

      - Hard to be sure as the data on those was never published and probably wasn't ever measured for the staff and the queue.

  9. Chris Sake

    Who took the photo?

    It must have been the street cleaner.

    Sweep the winter dust

    Giri for google camera

    Radiation smile

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Upvoted for haiku, not the unduly scary sentiment.

  11. Robert Helpmann??

    Biggest Risk

    I just listened to a report on the radio stating that depression from being displaced, living through a natural disaster and all the other things that accompanied this event put people more at risk for health and life than exposure to radiation released from the plant.

  12. Mips

    Spot the....

    ...Mutant Ninja stood on the corner.

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