Home > Articles > The Yamato Spirit: Japanese Engineers Volunteering to Fight Meltdown? (UPDATED)

The Yamato Spirit: Japanese Engineers Volunteering to Fight Meltdown? (UPDATED)

March 15th, 2011

One report coming out of the nuclear engineering community in Japan and Far East Asia is that the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has discussed, internally, what needs to be done to prevent the last reactor from having a full meltdown. According to the story, they have a list of volunteers within TEPCO willing to go on-site with HAZMAT gear to try and work on separating fuel elements. TEPCO is reportedly refusing to accept volunteers under the age of 50, or who have small children as dependents. The reason for this is that the risk of developing cancer as a result of this kind of work is extremely high. We cannot confirm these rumors, but we encourage major media with resources on the ground to verify this if they can.

We call to mind the words of George Patton in 1947: “All men are frightened. The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened. The courageous man is the man who forces himself, in spite of his fear, to carry on.”

NOTE: One reader notes that Patton died in 1945, two years before the above quotation. While that is correct, the quote is from his wartime memoirs, War As I Knew It, published posthumously in 1947.

UPDATE: Following our original report, which urged major media organizations to look into this, sources including the New York Times, CNN, Christian Science Monitor, Canada’s CTV, France24, PBS, and CBS, corroborated aspects of this story. According to these reports, there are some 50 (or more) volunteers and they have been dubbed “the Fukushima 50.” There are other reports that the staff have been ordered to pull out, at least temporarily. Details are still emerging.

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