TV: Stories of what’s really going on inside Fukushima plant only just emerging — “Conditions are deteriorating” (VIDEO)

Published: March 7th, 2013 at 9:11 am ET


Title: Fukushima workers ‘told to ignore radiation alerts’
Source: ABC Australia
Author: Mark Willacy
Date: March 7, 2013
h/t Anonymous tip

TIM PALMER: Just a few days before the second anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns a true picture of what workers endured during the crisis at the crippled plant is only just emerging. In an exclusive interview with the ABC one nuclear worker revealed how he was ordered in to tackle the meltdowns wearing insufficient protection gear. Two of his ill-equipped colleagues suffered beta-ray burns after they had to wade through radioactive water. […]

HIROYUKI WATANABE, councillor in Iwaki City just south of the plant who’s been investigating work practices at Fukushima (translated): Workers are losing their passion to work there because conditions are deteriorating. Some have had their danger pay ripped off them by subcontractors. Others have been dumped and left without any work at all as soon as they reach their radiation exposure limit. […]

MARK WILLACY: Two years on from the Fukushima meltdowns and the stories of what’s really going on inside the shattered nuclear plant are only just emerging.

Full broadcast here

Published: March 7th, 2013 at 9:11 am ET


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23 comments to TV: Stories of what’s really going on inside Fukushima plant only just emerging — “Conditions are deteriorating” (VIDEO)


    Not only has TEPCO and the Japanese government been criminal in their handling of this entire catastrophe, they backhand the very people who've sacrifice their lives to get these crippled plants under some semblance of control. It's stunning to think these executives could be so shortsighted.

    Are there no men left on this planet? Is it possible no one is willing to step forward and take control?

    When the wash is eventually hung-out for all to see, these people will be known for being the criminals that-they truly are. There is absolutely no excuse for not making every effort to protect these workers. It is the least TEPGOV could've done…

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      "…they backhand the very people who've sacrifice their lives to get these crippled plants under some semblance of control…"

      I understand what you mean here Aftershock, but the actual wording you're using puts my stomach in knots. It's entirely my problem though. I'm overly sensitive about people inadvertently recycling U.S. government whitewash about 'patriots' and 'defending the U.S.' – it's been used (quite effectively) to kill an alarming number of people the last decade.

      My feeble response to that whitewash is to toss out a few of my own. Ineffective, but it makes me feel a little better. So on with my hypocritical observation rant:

      1. The contract workers are maruta to TEPCO, not people

      2. Nothing even approaching informed consent here, so the workers have no idea what they're risking/sacrificing.

      3. TEPCO is effectively exploiting them and avoids any legal or human rights responsibility through the chain of contractors and subcontractors. Plausible denial.

      4. The Japanese government isn't responsible at all to its maruta. It exists by and for the current McEmperors of Japan, including TEPCO.

      5. The motivation for the contract workers is a paycheck or – in the case of Yakuza loan slaves – avoiding the lack of a paycheck and the ensuing bullet to the head. A retired reactor engineer working to clean up the plant has a noble motive. A guy trying to feed his family has an entirely different noble motive.


        can't argue against any of your points, PavewayIII. As usual, you're on the cutting edge of reality. Still, given all that you've highlighted, I can't help but feel great sadness for what these men and woman are going through…

    • jec jec

      "No men left on this planet"??? Send in Hillary.

  • corium pudding corium pudding

    It's pretty obvious how this is going to play out. TEPCO can only do the following:

    1. Remove all spent fuel rods.
    2. Build some sort of dam to help prevent contaminated water from flowing to the ocean.
    3. Entomb reactors in concrete.
    4. Walk away.

    And this is assuming an earthquake doesn't topple reactor 4 before the above steps can be completed.

    • Sickputer

      cp typed these pixels of light: "And this is assuming an earthquake doesn't topple reactor 4 before the above steps can be completed."

      SP: Oh, I think we're good there. I believe Unit 4 below the spent pool fuel pond level is pretty well a solid chunk of concrete and steel courtesy of about 20,000 truck loads of cement.

      I also think the fuel rods burned up almost completely over the past two years at Unit 4 and less than 10% of fuel chunks remain in the now water-covered fuel assemblies. Just melted sludge left in damaged fuel assemblies and they will be very difficult to relocate.

      I base this on viewing the many fire episodes that were definitely emanating from Unit 4 and early eyewitness accounts about the lack of water in Unit 4 after the earthquake. It took months to make the pond hold water again and frankly it was just too long go stop the burn up rate of the hundreds of thousands of individual fuel rods.

      Much of the volatile smoke did largely blow into the ocean and sank. But a considerable amount blew over Japan proper and also across the ocean to other northern hemisphere countries. Intestinal Illnesses in America 13-22 months ago peaked at the height of Unit 4 and Unit 3 fires seen on video (and sometimes not seen on video as cameras were shut off at peak burning times intil they could flood the leaky buildings again.

      The good news is… If you are reading this you haven't died yet. But a lot of friends and relatives didn't make it.

  • Lion76 Lion76

    they keep repeating "the first few days" I think they just don't want to talk about the truth. It's becoming obvious that they have been deflecting since day 1

  • weeman

    This is war the only difference is the enemy, in war you rotate the troops from the front lines or they burn out as you have to give them hope of survival.

  • Mack Mack

    Notes from the radio broadcast:

    – ten days after the tsunami, the worker was laying cables to get power back to Unit 3 damaged turbine building
    – wearing a raincoat + facemask + radiation reader
    – had to cut their way into damaged turbine
    – told not to worry about the radiation
    – radiation readers beeping
    – so dark couldn't see anything – water was everywhere –
    – complained to team leader that radiation limits reached but team leader "dismissed their concerns saying the radiation readers must be broken"
    – 3 of the team exposed to 180 millisieverts of radiation

  • I personally think these measurements are all bogus.

    When Ian was in Fukushima this summer documenting the effects on children, he drove into a hot spot that measured 500 microsieverts an hour on his geiger counter, miles from the plant.

    here is Ian's blog

    500 microsieverts an hour is 4380 millisieverts a year, or 4.3 sieverts a year

    No way workers are exposed only to 180 millsieverts a year, I say.

    Moreover, the VALIDITY of the entire micro/milli/sievert system is very questionable given how the risk calculi were developed:

    Presumes adult reference man

    Doesn't fully (or at all) address internal emitters

    Doesn't address diseases beyond leukemia and cancer

    Doesn't incorporate synergistic effects of radiation and chemicals or the victim's existing radiological burden

    The entire measurement game HIDES more than it discloses.

    I am grateful for the Fukushima workers.

    They should be regarded as national and international heroes and protected and awarded accordingly.


      totally with you, majia, on your closing words. For whatever reason they may find themselves there, they are heroes; and hopefully, they'll at least go to their graves, so honored…

    • Mack Mack

      I agree 100%.

      In addition, the validity of a "permissible dose" of radiation is also bogus.

      "Permissible dose" was thought of in 1934 by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).

      We now know the only thing it protects is the nuclear industry.

      Because there is no safe dose of nuclear radiation:

      And with the "Protective Action Guidelines" and background radiation "normal" limits being increased at will by the EPA and NRC, we know that these are fudged numbers, too.

      The NRC has recently raised the "normal" background radiation from 360 to 620 millirem.

      And the Protective Action Guidelines propose to be risen to:

      * a nearly 1000-fold increase in Strontium-90
      * a 3,000 to 100,000 fold increase in Iodine-131
      * a nearly 25,000 increase for Nickel-63
      * in some cases, radionuclide concentrations 7,000,000 more lax than permitted by the Safe Drinking Water Act

    • weeman

      They are owed the gratitude of a nation, instead they are shunned from society as if they had a communicable disease, no future health care, no welfare when they get sick, minimum wage, no worker protection, etc etc etc.
      I am discussed and will say no more, you get the drift.

  • jec jec

    Anyone have documented data on the illnesses, diabetes/heart/CNS/cancer/birth defects/birth rates in 2012-2013 in Japan? Vs previous years?

    • Great question. I've not seen any documentation outside of some specific statistics on flu and other illnesses documented by Fukushima Diary.

      • Woops. Enenews had the article documenting decline in live births in Japan and Fukushima as well.

        Research published by Dr. Alfred Koerblein in 2013 reported a significant three-fold increase of infant mortality in Fukushima prefecture in May 2011 (O=9, E=3.1, P=0.0014). Pronounced peaks in infant mortality were also found in Fukushima for December of 2011. Koerblein noted significant reductions in the number of live births in December 2011 in Japan as a whole. He concluded that the falling birth rate could be caused by radiation-induced loss of zygotes shortly after fertilization.
        A. Koerblein (10 January 2013 ) ‘Infant Mortality in Japan after Fukushima’, Strahlentelex mit Elektrosmog Report,, date accessed 11 February 2013