About 88,000 residents lived in the evacuation zone. By comparison, the area evacuated after the Chernobyl accident was nearly four times larger, and some 300,000 people were displaced in the years after that accident.
Most evacuees now live in temporary housing and rented apartments. There are about 40,000 of these units in Fukushima Prefecture. Nearly half of the people who lived in the most affected towns were 50 or older.
Reactor temperatures have fallen. Tepco, the plant’s operator, expects to reach “cold shutdown” by year’s end. But decommissioning the plant could take 30 years.
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