A group of journalists have been permitted inside Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for the first time since the March earthquake and tsunami.
The Associated Press was among more than 30 reporters, photographers and cameramen tour of the facility wearing full protective clothing in an effort to prove the situation at the plant has stabilized.
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The AP said:
(It was) a striking scene of devastation: twisted and overturned trucks, crumbling reactor buildings and piles of rubble virtually untouched since the wave struck more than eight months ago ... Mangled trucks, flipped over by the wave, remain along the roads inside the complex. Piles of rubble stand where the walls of the plant's reactor structures crumbled, and large pools of water still cover parts of the sprawling campus.
Previous requests by journalists to visit the plant, 140 miles northeast of Tokyo, had been refused, with authorities arguing that radiation levels were too high.
Much of the countryside around the plant was sealed-off following leaks of radioactive material.
TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) said Friday that up to 3,300 people are taking part in the clean-up.
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Reporters on Saturday were looking to get a closer view of the outside of the three reactors that melted down after the tsunami destroyed their cooling systems, the BBC reported.
Japanese authorities say a "cold shutdown" of the damaged reactors, by the end of the year, is the immediate priority.