Fukushima Fifty: We expect to die soon

posted at 9:01 pm on March 31, 2011 by Allahpundit

Chernobyl had its heroes too. If you’ve never heard the stories of Anatoly Grishchenko, Alexei Ananenko, and Vladimir Shevchenko, follow the links. They knew what they were in for if they went in, and what everyone else was in for if they didn’t.

Immense courage, needless to say.

Speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker said: “My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation.

“He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.”…

She could not confirm if her son or other workers were already suffering from radiation sickness. But she added: “They have concluded between themselves that it is inevitable some of them may die within weeks or months. They know it is impossible for them not to have been exposed to lethal doses of radiation.”…

“My son has been sleeping on a desk because he is afraid to lie on the floor. But they say high radioactivity is everywhere and I think this will not save him,” said the mother of the worker who spoke to Fox News.

As strange as it may sound, I’ve imagined them at work 24/7 since the crisis began, never thinking how they must be eating and sleeping inside the hot zone. CNN sheds some light on that:

They sleep anywhere they can find open space — in conference rooms, corridors, even stairwells. They have one blanket, no pillows and a leaded mat intended to keep radiation at bay.

They eat only two meals each day — a carefully rationed breakfast of 30 crackers and vegetable juice and for dinner, a ready-to-eat meal or something out of a can.They clean themselves with wet wipes, since the supply of fresh water is short…

“My parents were washed away by the tsunami, and I still don’t know where they are,” one worker wrote in an e-mail that was verified as authentic by a spokesman for the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which runs the Fukushima plant.

“Crying is useless,” said another e-mail. “If we’re in hell now, all we can do is crawl up towards heaven.”

The area in the exclusion zone around the plant is so radioactive that up to 1,000 people killed in the quake and resulting tsunami are still lying out in the open, their bodies unretrieved because they’re simply too toxic to handle. Burning them would release more radiation into the air; burying them could contaminate the soil. If/when the Fukushima Fifty start to die, I assume they’ll be buried right there on the grounds of the plant where it’s already contaminated. Maybe that’s what they’ll do with the other bodies too.

There’s a last-ditch plan in place to try to save the workers once they’re stricken with cancer:

Japanese authorities are considering plans to collect and freeze cells from engineers and water cannon operators at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in case they are exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.

The proposal has been drawn up as a precautionary measure that could potentially save the lives of workers if they receive high doses of radiation while battling to bring the damaged nuclear reactors under control…

The procedure requires workers to take a drug for several days that causes their bone marrow to release stem cells into the blood. They are then hooked up to a machine through which their blood is passed and filtered to extract the stem cells.

The procedure is already used to treat cancer patients whose bone marrow is destroyed by chemo- or radiotherapy.

Every time I read about the Fukushima Fifty lately, I think of “Ikiru.” If you’ve never seen it, surf on over to Netflix right this instant. Here’s Shevchenko’s final film, a rare historical document of Chernobyl inside the hottest of hot zones. Note the part where he climbed up onto a roof next to the reactor and filmed down into it. That’s apparently where he received his own fatal dose.

Update: Speaking of which, Japan is now considering a Chernobyl solution to its own problem — burying the entire plant in concrete to try to contain the reactors and snuff further radiation releases as best they can. According to a British nuclear expert, it could take … 100 years before the fuel rods have completely cooled and can be removed from the plant.


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In Japan’s case, just terrible.
Brave souls

Kini on March 31, 2011 at 9:05 PM

“Courage” seems to light a word to describe these people. When you consider HOW they are going to die.

GarandFan on March 31, 2011 at 9:06 PM

They are true heroes. Facing certain death to protect others.

Grunt on March 31, 2011 at 9:06 PM

I can only wonder how our social fabric would hold up under such circumstances. Hopefully we won’t be finding out any time soon. God bless.

abobo on March 31, 2011 at 9:06 PM

They eat only two meals each day — a carefully rationed breakfast of 30 crackers and vegetable juice and for dinner, a ready-to-eat meal or something out of a can.They clean themselves with wet wipes, since the supply of fresh water is short…

You would think they could at least feed and supply them decently.

sharrukin on March 31, 2011 at 9:11 PM

May God keep them. As the gentleman said..

“If we’re in hell now, all we can do is crawl up towards heaven.”

wi farmgirl on March 31, 2011 at 9:13 PM

And in Washington, some are going berzerk that there a slight trace of Iodine in local milk. 5000 times less then what is allowable.

Electrongod on March 31, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Ave, morituri te salutant.

My thanks for your sacrifice so that you may save your countrymen and our honored friends and allies.

ajacksonian on March 31, 2011 at 9:15 PM

I can only wonder how our social fabric would hold up under such circumstances. Hopefully we won’t be finding out any time soon. God bless.

abobo on March 31, 2011 at 9:06 PM

I would hope that the goodness that exists in our nation would shine, but it gets harder and harder to see it these days.

wi farmgirl on March 31, 2011 at 9:15 PM

*gulp*

Cicero43 on March 31, 2011 at 9:17 PM

Amazing, humbling bravery.

The Chernobyl movie was interesting. I spent a couple of weeks in a part of Russia that was in the fallout zone. The rates of cancer there are still higher there than in other parts of the country. The repercussions from that disaster continue.

Slublog on March 31, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Heroes

CWforFreedom on March 31, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Luke 15:13

God bless those men in that plant. God bless them and their families, they are truly heroes that are sacrificing themselves for their country. They are simply magnificent and I pray that Japan tells their story as a testament to the rest of us. They are leading from the front.

ted c on March 31, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Allah, Charlie Martin over at Pajamas Media is reporting that this report is mostly in error.

He knows what he is talking about.

I suggest everyone check out what he has been posting about this.

These brave people do not deserve to have sensational lies posted about their situation.

http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/03/31/fox-news-blows-one-more-media-translation/

Lily on March 31, 2011 at 9:26 PM

May God grant me the grace to stop complaining about all the trivial nonsense in my life. This is an incredible example of self sacrifice by extraordinarily brave people.

Saul Alinsky on March 31, 2011 at 9:28 PM

Well beyond courage. These men are indeed heroes. It is up to us to remember them and the men of Chernobyl who were also selfless in tackling a massive disaster.

lexhamfox on March 31, 2011 at 9:30 PM

It is my understanding that the majority of the radiation was released from the cooling pools that housed the spent fuel rods…

… I can only imagine the horror those poor souls are going through.

It’s a good thing that in the United States, we have invested in a stable, safe place to store our spent fuel rods…

Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on March 31, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Battling the plant,in the last 3 weeks,
irregardless,is,

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty!!!

canopfor on March 31, 2011 at 9:38 PM

May God grant me the grace to stop complaining about all the trivial nonsense in my life. This is an incredible example of self sacrifice by extraordinarily brave people.

Saul Alinsky on March 31, 2011 at 9:28 PM

I agree. ++

ted c on March 31, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Heres the International Atomic Energy Agency,
that has been referred to on Fukashami,as rel
iable source!

And,it appears there having a sever meltdown,keep
trying to get in!!

http://www.iaea.org/

canopfor on March 31, 2011 at 9:42 PM

Every time I read about the Fukushima Fifty lately, I think of “Ikiru.” If you’ve never seen it, surf on over to Netflix right this instant.

Good grief, I’ve got the waterworks just reading the plot summary at Wikipedia…

Purple Fury on March 31, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Japanese are as Resilient as Americans!

canopfor on March 31, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Every time I read about the Fukushima Fifty lately, I think of “Ikiru.” If you’ve never seen it, surf on over to Netflix right this instant.

Kurosawa’s masterpiece. If you haven’t seen it I second the recommendation.

And what incredible courage. Heroes are alive and well in our day, it seems.

Hesiodos on March 31, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Lily on March 31, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Exactly right. This is a horrible news report perpetuated by the local HotAir ignoramus. Is just a little bit of research on radiation exposure too much to ask for AP? Or do you wish to also be seen as a waste of space information provider?

None of these guys are going to die unless they first become sick and the vast majority of those who become sick will fully recover. Only 31 people died from exposure at Chernobyl and the vast majority of those were first responders dealing with the explosion of plant 4 like they would any other fire. They stood almost of top of the melted reactor with no protective gear for hours. 237 others came down with radiation sickness and fully recovered.

Get a clue AP.

NotCoach on March 31, 2011 at 9:52 PM

As the drive by media has given up on Japan to foucs in Libya this story will be driven by.

There is still so many conflicting reports will there every be a full account.

tjexcite on March 31, 2011 at 9:56 PM

Looks like Drudge has the latest in his headlines.

All hands on deck.

katy on March 31, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Exactly right. This is a horrible news report perpetuated by the local HotAir ignoramus. Is just a little bit of research on radiation exposure too much to ask for AP? Or do you wish to also be seen as a waste of space information provider?

None of these guys are going to die unless they first become sick and the vast majority of those who become sick will fully recover. Only 31 people died from exposure at Chernobyl and the vast majority of those were first responders dealing with the explosion of plant 4 like they would any other fire. They stood almost of top of the melted reactor with no protective gear for hours. 237 others came down with radiation sickness and fully recovered.

Get a clue AP.

NotCoach on March 31, 2011 at 9:52 PM

NotCoach:Check this out,btw,I do believe that the 50,
expect to,nobody is saying they are!
=================================================

Japan nuclear crisis: Fukushima 50 ‘expect to die’
Tokyo 9:00PM BST 31 Mar 2011
*****************************************************

Workers who have been fighting to bring the reactors under control at Japan’s strick nuclear plant expect to die from radiation sickness, according to the mother of one of the men.

The so-called Fukushima 50, the group of around 300 technicians, soldiers and firemen who work in shifts of 50, have been exposed repeatedly to dangerously high radioactive levels as they attempt to avert a nuclear disaster.

The mother of one of the men has admitted that the group have discussed their situation and have accepted that death is a strong possibility.

“My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary in the long-term.”

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said the world needed international safety standards on nuclear power by the end of the year as fears surrounding the extent of radiation leaks in Japan continued to grow.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8419808/Japan-nuclear-crisis-Fukushima-50-expect-to-die.html

canopfor on March 31, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Every time I read about the Fukushima Fifty lately, I think of “Ikiru.” If you’ve never seen it, surf on over to Netflix right this instant.

I have seen it many times. While not Kurosawa’s greatest film (that would be “The Seven Samurai”), it is my personal favorite of his works. And it never ceases to make me cry.

And reading this story, with you bringing up that movie, makes me tear up now.

Vyce on March 31, 2011 at 10:01 PM

Exclusive: WANTED: U.S. workers for crippled Japan nuke plant
************************

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As foreign assignments go this must be just about the most dangerous going.

A U.S. recruiter is hiring nuclear power workers in the United States to help Japan gain control of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant, which has been spewing radiation.

The qualifications: Skills gained in the nuclear industry, a passport, a family willing to let you go, willingness to work in a radioactive zone.

The rewards: Higher than normal pay and the challenge of solving a major crisis.

“About two weeks ago we told our managers to put together a wish list of anyone interested in going to Japan,” said Joe Melanson, a recruiter at specialist nuclear industry staffing firm Bartlett Nuclear in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Thursday.

So far, the firm has already signed up some workers who will be flying to Japan on Sunday.

Melanson said there will be less than 10 workers in the initial group. Others are expected to follow later, he added.

Plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has appealed to the nuclear industry outside of Japan for assistance as the crisis has spiraled beyond their control.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/exclusive-wanted-u-workers-crippled-japan-nuke-plant-20110331-165506-832.html

canopfor on March 31, 2011 at 10:03 PM

canopfor on March 31, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Please look at he source here. The person interviewed is as about a reliable a source as you or I. Yet they still run with the story. Please read the Pajamas Media article linked by lily.

NotCoach on March 31, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Looks like Drudge has the latest in his headlines.

All hands on deck.

katy on March 31, 2011 at 9:57 PM

katy:Thank-you for the heads up!:)

canopfor on March 31, 2011 at 10:06 PM

There are no adequate words to express my feelings about these individuals. They are brave and heroic souls and we may never know the extent of their sacrifice! God Bless these workers!

bluemarlin on March 31, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Of course all fifty will die, probably of Cancer like this guy: Man Who Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombs Dies at 93

slickwillie2001 on March 31, 2011 at 10:28 PM

THEY
ARE
NOT
GOING
TO
DIE…

Well some might, of old age eventually you know.

AP for the love of (Darwin?) please check these articles BEFORE you post them and STOP with the sensationalist CRAP.

http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/03/31/fox-news-blows-one-more-media-translation/

SgtSVJones on March 31, 2011 at 10:30 PM

NotCoach on March 31, 2011 at 10:04 PM

This not may be as bad as Chernobyl, but these workers are still subjecting themselves to levels of radiation that will impact their future health. In doing their duty, they are shortening their lives.

I believe nuclear power is safe, efficient and I want to see more of it. Yes, the radiation in this case may not be harmful in small doses, but these workers are exposing themselves to it 24/7. No breaks, no relief. They know it will affect them, and that makes them heroic in my book.

Slublog on March 31, 2011 at 10:36 PM

quiet courage day in and day out.
my best wishes for them.

huan on March 31, 2011 at 10:39 PM

I can only wonder how our social fabric would hold up under such circumstances. Hopefully we won’t be finding out any time soon. God bless.

abobo on March 31, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Actually, we do. They operate chemical plants, refineries, drill rigs, power plants (including nukes) and are all American. But Obama was to shut all of them down.

Kermit on March 31, 2011 at 10:42 PM

Slublog on March 31, 2011 at 10:36 PM

I commend them for their work, but their exposure is not anywhere near as drastic as is being portrayed. And I guarantee you that if any of them exhibit signs of radiation sickness they will be removed from the site. And there is not any epidemiological evidence that prolonged exposure to the point of sickness poses long term health effects. Assuming they do not die from the sickness and most likely they would not.

At worst there will be some immeasurable increase of cancer risk.

NotCoach on March 31, 2011 at 10:43 PM

Screw all the news media outlets for overhyping this just like they did the BP Macondo Spill.

Kermit on March 31, 2011 at 10:43 PM

AP, you need to man up and once in a while suppress the beta-male. These guys are getting the equivalent of a mammogram or two per day. Of course Mama’s scared out of her wits, but it ain’t the gospel truth.

AH_C on March 31, 2011 at 10:46 PM

They sleep anywhere they can find open space — in conference rooms, corridors, even stairwells. They have one blanket, no pillows and a leaded mat intended to keep radiation at bay.
They eat only two meals each day — a carefully rationed breakfast of 30 crackers and vegetable juice and for dinner, a ready-to-eat meal or something out of a can.They clean themselves with wet wipes, since the supply of fresh water is short…

Really?

They can string 24 kv power lines into the plant and have fire trucks come to the plant, and take workers to the hospital. . . .but somehow they can’t get the workers anything more than crackers and vegetable juice to eat. . . . .and there’s no place for them to sleep?

I call BS on this. What percent of the “news” reports coming out from the plant are accurate? From the things that are demonstrably false, it can be much above 10-20%.

Narniaman on March 31, 2011 at 11:33 PM

Narniaman on March 31, 2011 at 11:33 PM

The followup story will be how they have been forced to each other’s radioactive flesh in order to survive and they are all resigned to the fact that they will all eventually transform into C.H.U.D.s.

NotCoach on March 31, 2011 at 11:45 PM

Screw all the news media outlets for overhyping this just like they did the BP Macondo Spill.
Kermit on March 31, 2011 at 10:43 PM

Aw hell, they’re all gonna die eventually aren’t they?
Close enough for jazz and the media.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on March 31, 2011 at 11:52 PM

Thinking about the bravery of the Fukushima Fifty only reminds me that money guzzling, lying bastards are sending them to their deaths, while sitting safely hundreds of miles away.

Rode Werk on April 1, 2011 at 12:07 AM

This puts their exposure into perspective:

Radiation Dose Chart

Here’s the latest official report:

JAIF

Common Sense on April 1, 2011 at 1:45 AM

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13

krl on April 1, 2011 at 8:47 AM

Their heroism and love for others makes me cry.

My son has been sleeping on a desk because he is afraid to lie on the floor

I guess I don’t understand radiation. I thought it was something in the air…why did the Russian die of cancer within weeks if it was in particles? Anyone got a link?

PattyJ on April 1, 2011 at 11:34 AM

PattyJ on April 1, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Those who die from radiation exposure do not die of cancer. Massive doses of radiation wreck the body. A super massive dose will kill in hours or less. Lesser lethal doses may take up to 3 months to kill someone. Exposure to lethal levels, or levels that will make you sick but not likely to die, is like a poison.

NotCoach on April 1, 2011 at 12:10 PM

According to a British nuclear expert, it could take … 100 years before the fuel rods have completely cooled and can be removed from the plant.

Gee, I wonder how they refuel reactors now???? 100 years before they can remove fuel rods between refuelings? WoW!

…..must have been Pure Freaking Magic (PFM) that allowed us to do that kind of thing annually for the last 60 years! Since we’ve only been operating nuclear power plants since the early 1950s, I mean.

….. Seriously, does anybody quoted as an expert have a 10th of a brain in their head when they can somehow claim it will take longer for the fuel rods to cool down than we have actually been operating nuclear plants since our first startup??? My retarded lizard is smarter than that….

Subsunk

Subsunk on April 1, 2011 at 1:04 PM