Volunteers in ‘ suicide mission’
THEY are being hailed as the modern-day samurai – the 180 brave men who stayed to fight the crisis at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant knowing they had very likely volunteered for a suicide mission.
The message that came out from one of them was that he was ‘‘ not afraid to die’’ – that was his job.
Japanese Prime Minister Naota Kan told the volunteers: ‘‘ You are the only ones who can resolve a crisis. Retreat is unthinkable.’’
In shifts of 50, with no electricity, they are worki ng in total darkness using flashlights or helmets with lamps on them.
Wearing head-to-toe protective gear and breathing through oxygen tanks as radiation reaches potentially lethal levels and temperatures soar, they crawl through dark mazes of pipes to adjust a valve or read a gauge.
Nuclear experts say the skeleton crew is more likely to be skilled older men than fit young ones because they have already had children and, even if they are exposed to massive doses of radiation, their cancers are unlikely to develop in their lifetimes.