These first photos of the men now being called the Fukushima 50, the reactor workers struggling without letup to stop a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, are almost too poignant for the crass media that has been featuring them. Seemingly five of the original group have died but an additional 150 workers have joined them. I can only feel completely humbled by the quiet courage of these people who remain inside the stricken plant despite the strong possibility that radiation is silently and invisibly killing them. So many things seem so very small in comparison.
Meanwhile a grim and angry Yukiko writes from Tokyo…
“While NISA is conducting their usual inarticulate press sessions, we're getting increasingly grim news about detection of nuclear substances in milk, vegetables, and now water which threatens the health of babies. And yesterday, a well-expected accident finally happened at the reactor #3, where three engineers--employees of TEPCO's contract company--who were trying to restore the cooling system were severely exposed to radiation by stepping in the contaminated water, two of whom have been in an extremely serious condition. The dreadful accident was caused by TEPCO's not having informed them sufficiently of the danger of potential radiation leak at the work site--they didn't even have one of their radiation detection personnel accompany these engineers to constantly measure the level of radiation beside them.
“I could have written you about the press conference between the media and two captains and their commander of Tokyo Fire Department who had just been back from the operation to hose a reactor from a suicidal distance. At first they had planned to fulfill the task from within a thick steel fire engine without going out to the contaminated area, but as they arrived at the site, it was found that they must spread the hose manually outside of the fire truck, which they did. I could have told you what I saw from the Q&A, but it was just too emotional and tragic for me to write about it objectively. I have no idea why the Japanese repeat such a Kamikaze operation.
“The earthquake and Tsunami were natural calamities, but what happened and is happening at the Fukushima Daiichi Atomic Plant are NOT. This whole thing taught me that the human being has not evolved enough to control the atomic power -- we're still just too unintelligent to handle the monster.”
The secret word is Distrust