‘Fukushima Fifty’ workers speak out: If you blamed Tepco for symptoms, told not to come back — 5,000 CPM internal radiation — “None of them trust anything TEPCO or gov’t says” -Asahi

Published: March 12th, 2012 at 3:33 am ET
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Title: REMEMBERING 3/11: Fukushima workers brave radiation for 1,000 yen an hour
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Author: SOPHIE KNIGHT
Date: March 10, 2012

[...] the world’s eyes turned briefly on the “Fukushima 50,” [...] Little has been heard from those men—who actually numbered more than fifty—or those that took their places in the following months. Most have been reluctant to speak to the media for fear of losing their jobs.

Three workers, however, did agree to speak to The Asahi Shimbun AJW after being introduced by Masayoshi Hisada, the author of a recently published book about their experiences, “Young Nuclear Outlaws.”

All grew up close to the Fukushima plant and started working there in their late teens or early 20s. [...]

X-rays, Rocks, Air Travel, Cartoons… Sound Familiar?

All three say that they have become desensitized to the risks of radiation exposure after years of work in the nuclear industry. The training they received from TEPCO played down the risks with cartoons of doses received from flights, x-rays and rocks and made no mention of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union.

“After working in this job for 10 years you become anesthetized to words like ‘exposure,’ or ‘contamination’,” said Kenichi

5,000 CPM Internally

[Kenichi's] internal radiation exposure has been measured at 5,000 counts per minute, or around five times the upper range for an average person. “I sometimes think maybe I shouldn’t get married and I won’t be able to have kids.”

Daily Dose of 18+ millisieverts through Fall

Kenichi says he was receiving around 18 to 20 millisieverts a day in the fall, according to his dosimeter. That has now fallen to around 0.08 millisievert.

Symptoms?

Many fainted from heatstroke, but Kenichi notes that if they had to go home they would not be paid. Those who blamed the plant’s operators for their symptoms were told not to come back the next day.

Meltdown Progression

Having worked in the industry for over 10 years, Kenichi and Tatsuo were much more aware of what was happening at the plant than the general public, who were reliant on information released by TEPCO and the government.

Kenichi predicted that the reactors would melt down in strict number order, from the No. 1 reactor upward, as the cooling system runs from the first to the sixth reactor. Hisada, the former editor of Jitsuwa Knuckles, a monthly magazine focusing on Japan’s seamy underbelly, heard the same prediction from a worker he knew on March 12.

“Information travels fast in these circles,” Hisada says. “The workers knew because they’ve been working in the same place for so long.”

None of them trust anything TEPCO or the government says.

Nuclear, the Attractive Alternative

The workers see themselves more as “outlaws,” as Hisada calls them, than heroes; estranged from society since a young age, when they started causing trouble and were involved in crime, they say work in the nuclear industry was an attractive alternative.

Read the report here

Published: March 12th, 2012 at 3:33 am ET
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16 comments to ‘Fukushima Fifty’ workers speak out: If you blamed Tepco for symptoms, told not to come back — 5,000 CPM internal radiation — “None of them trust anything TEPCO or gov’t says” -Asahi

  • Laterlukemayb Laterlukemayb

    Well it is evident that Enenews has been taken over by the nuclear establishment since it is now posting story's from Japan's number one daily newspaper, now in digital format. Not going to get any updated truth from that media venue!


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  • milk and cheese milk and cheese

    The article is hardly pro-nuke, and I think that it is important to read it.
    I am amazed that there are members of the "Fukushima 50" who are still alive, particularly with such a high internal measure of radiation.


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  • gr81 gr81

    Interesting that operations jobs at the Japanese nuke plants was offered to youth who possibly would have been in trouble with the law.

    In the Comanche Creek Nuclear Plant in Texas, jobs in the plant were only offered to x-Navy veterans with Nuclear Submarine training and experience.


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  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    This statement from Hosada struck me:
    "“These guys are young, they’re in their 20s… and they’re also nuclear victims and evacuees. <b>They’re not being paid enough, while TEPCO bosses are getting bonuses</b>.”

    ~~~emphasis mine…

    Kind of reminds me of the corporate bosses in the US who took the TARP bailout and gave themselves lavish bonuses and still do.


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  • jec jec

    Or the Gulf Coast Oil Spill, BP did the same..to the citizens..to the workers..


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  • ruth

    "All three say that they have become desensitized to the risks of radiation exposure after years of work in the nuclear industry. The training they received from TEPCO played down the risks with cartoons of doses received from flights, x-rays and rocks and made no mention of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union."

    This is the same old crap that the MSM and nuclear industry keeps saying over and over to pacify people's concerns about nuclear radiation. What is surprising is that the nuclear worker's bought into this crap, and helps explain some comments I have seen from alleged nuclear workers who staunchly defend the safety of the nuclear industry. Brainwashed or in deep denial.


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  • Sickputer

    Interesting about the intertwined cooling system running in sequential order from Units 1-6. Sounds like another Achilles heel for a megaplex facility.


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    • ageezerofgiza

      I found that "sequential" thing difficult to believe. Surely each would have its own independent system, so that failure of one could not bring down the others.


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      • Sickputer

        Tepco advanced the theory that reactor 3 hydrogen gas circulated through connecting pipes to Unit 4 causing that mysterious as-yet-no-video-released explosion.


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  • openeye openeye

    Yazuka, the Japanese mafia, supplies many of the workers (who owe them money) for the dangerous jobs. This brings new meaning to "between a rock and a hard place.

    "How many ways can our hearts break?*

    *Thanx to Heart of the Rose for that phrase


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  • From the article, "Decommissioning or maintaining the plants when they are offline requires, he says, more labor than when they are running." So here lies the problem for Japan USA France and others. There is no financial motivation to close down aging plants. It costs too much money. These nuclear power plants are money pits plain and simple. Not only are they poison factories but when all the costs are factored in, expensive. Many plants in USA are running beyond there projected lifespan. So shutting them down costs too much money but keeping them running means chancing an American Fukushima. At least us in North America have more land to run away to. So is it ALARA principals that keep the practice of re-licensing old reactors? Lets not even talk about spent fuel rods…..


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  • '….poison factories…'

    ..born of consumerism…


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