A worker stands in front of a tsunami defence wall at Hamaoka nuclear power station.
Tokyo based photographer Toru Hanai was granted exclusive access to Chubu Electric Co’s only nuclear plant to see anti-disaster improvements designed to protect the site from tsunami and earthquakes, such as the one that devastated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in 2011.
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"I got wet through – fortunately it was only me. The camera was safe."
Chubu Electric Power Co's Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station in Japan is located at water level next to a beach. It is also widely reported to be one of the world's most dangerous nuclear plants as it sits close to a major fault line. Not unlike the one that caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
I had an offer of an exclusive tour of Chubu Nuclear Power Station where an 18-meter (60 ft) high and 1.6 km (1 mile) long tsunami defense wall has been built at a cost of $1.3 billion.
Being located beachside I immediately thought of basing the main photo for this trip on the famous “ukiyoe” print by the artist Hokusai: The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
Hokusai (1760-1849) was a ukiyoe painter and printmaker during the Edo period. I guess many people have seen this ukiyoe print.
I left Tokyo early with waders for fishing and a compact digital camera in a waterproof housing to get the photo I wanted. I was in time for the high tide.
I entered the sea with my compact camera protected by its housing and my most favorite camera, a Canon 5D MKIII. The waves moved much more quickly than they appeared to from land. It was so strong it was hard to stand, much less take a photograph.
Wonderful white waves crashed only a little in front of me, and I moved towards them for the picture regardless of the danger to my equipment.
The white spray lasted for only an instant. I had to decide whether to aim for "a good photograph" with my waterproof compact camera which is less responsive, or choose the more responsive camera and risk drowning it?
I chose to use my 5D MKIII.
Photographers get absorbed in their work when a good subject is in front of them.
A good wave came.
It crashed into a pillar standing in the sea and splashed high enough to hang over the building of No. 5 reactor. The wave crashed on me, too.
I got wet through – fortunately it was only me. The camera was safe.