On the surface, everything seems to be under control at the expansive site storing radioactive soil collected from across Fukushima Prefecture in the aftermath of the 2011 core meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Since 2015, the Interim Storage Facility, which straddles the towns of Okuma and Futaba and overlooks the crippled plant, has safely processed massive amounts of radioactive soil — enough to fill 11 Tokyo Domes — in an area nearly five times the size of New York's Central Park. The soil was collected during decontamination procedures in Fukushima’s cities, towns and villages that were polluted by the disaster.

Here, black plastic bags full of contaminated soil are put on conveyor belts and unpacked. The contents are sifted through to remove plastic, leaves, twigs and other nonsoil waste. Then the soil is taken to dump zones, where it’s buried in 15-meter-deep pits with protective sheeting and a drainage pipe at the bottom so that radioactive cesium won’t leak into the ground. Finally, the soil is covered with noncontaminated soil and topped with a lawn. Areas where the work has been completed look like soccer fields.