Risky Reporting at Fukushima

Anthony Kuhn suited up to report from a radioactive reactor at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant. (Photo by Chie Kobayashi)
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The contrast was sharp one morning — me, eating breakfast in my kitchen, and Anthony Kuhn, on my radio carefully making his way through an irradiated nuclear power plant. I couldn’t help but think about and even feel the risks reporters take to “get the story.”

Anthony is a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio based in Beijing. He’s reported on the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant several times after the plant was struck by a tsunami in 2011. Anthony’s most recent visit to the plant was last February to document the clean up of the plant.

In the photo, Anthony is “dressed to the nines,” as he put it in his story, with several layers of gloves, a radiation suit, and a respirator. “Not a sliver of skin showing anywhere.”

His recorder is wrapped in cellophane. So is his camera. “My microphone I could not (protect),” he told me. “If I wrapped that in cellophane it would affect the sound obviously, so that was unshielded. And, all I could do is measure the radiation before and after and it did not show any significant amounts of radiation.” Indeed, Anthony says he is still using all of his equipment.

On this HowSound, Anthony talks about risk taking and he’s surprisingly matter of fact. “I like the physical challenge of it and the mental challenge of it. Some people would not accept this level risk. Some people would not accept the crazy life style and all that. I find it a welcome challenge.”

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