The mother of a 32-year-old man among the Fukushima 50 has spoken to the media anonymously, saying her son and his co-workers expect to die with weeks or months. In the meantime, Bartlett Nuclear located in Massachusetts is trying to recruit qualified workers with valid passports, “and a family willing to let them work in a highly radioactive zone.” The pay will be substantial. General Electric designed the Fukushima reactors and approached Bartlett, who says a team of less than ten will heading for Japan soon, with more following soon. Bartlett expects their recruits to be on the premises for at least a month. Take a look at this grim story:
While workers are not expected to come into contact with the highest levels of radiation they will still work in much more dangerous conditions than is usual.
The situation they face is shown by the revelation that thousands of victims bodies have not been collected because of fears of high levels of radiation.
Police sources said bodies within the 12-mile evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been ‘exposed to high levels of radiation after death’.
It follows the discovery of a body on Sunday in Okuma, just three miles from the power plant, which revealed elevated levels of radiation….
It begs the question, if the Americans are not working at the reactors, are they hired to fill the morgues? Our troops are already searching by air and sea along with the Japanese military.
To deal with the wider crisis caused by the tsunami and earthquake, U.S. troops will join Japanese counterparts in a joint task force to search for the dead.
I guess the question is, will our troops be kept out of the radioactive areas?
So far 11,500 people have been confirmed dead. Of those, more than 9,000 have been identified. Another 16,400 are missing, and many may never be found.
Other survivors face another sobering reality: radiation within 12 miles of the leaking nuclear plant has prevented the recovery of about 1,000 victims, Kyodo Newsreports. Yet even after the bodies are handed over to the victims’ families, interment remains another problem, as cremation could spread plumes containing radioactive materials, while burying the victims could contaminate the soil around them.
The Mail Online report says the reactors will have to be “closed” and the fuel removed – expected to take 50 to 100 years to accomplish. A British nuclear expert also agrees that it may take a “century” to make the fuel rods safe.
At about 4 pm CDT April 1, 2011, Tokyo Electric Power announced attempts to seal the 8-inch crack in the pit holding radioactive water with cement did not work. The water rushing into the sea had not diminished at all. The radiation level coming directly from the reactor is now measured at 1,000 millisieverts an hour with annual limits allowed for workers, only considered safe at 250 millisieverts.
As the situation has grown more critical, the government has steadily raised the legal limit of radiation the workers can be exposed to. The bottom line is likely that someone has to get the plant under control, and no one will leave until that is done or they are dead. We don’t know who the men at Fukushima are, but you can read some twitter reactions from family members here, and the Wall Street Journal has a few emails that have been translated into English.
The HuffPo article linked above says the Fukushima 50 are actually about 300 men: technicians, soldiers and firemen working in shifts of 50. While researching this story I found two comments that I cannot locate for you now. One woman said her husband had to return the plant immediately after the earthquake because the world’s nuclear plans depended on making it safe, and another said her husband had been working in the industry since he was 18 an he was confident it was safe.