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On 11 March 2011 Fukushima nuclear workers were sure that they would die

Fukushima-aerial-viewHydrogen explosion left Fukushima No. 1 workers sure they would die  Fukushima Emergency what can we do ? Sep 10, 2014    FUKUSHIMA – This is the fourth in a series on the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe based on the accounts of people who struggled to contain the crisis in its early stages. Job titles and ages are as of March 2011.


Ground Self-Defense Force member Yuichi Sato was on a firetruck heading for the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant the day after it had been decimated by the March 11, 2011, tsunami — without being notified what his mission was.
That morning, the truck was in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, where the 22-year-old was born.
He was several kilometers from his destination, but the familiar sights were gone — the walls of houses had collapsed, road surfaces were buckled and the town looked deserted.
“It was like a ghost town,” said Sato, who was part of the GSDF’s artillery regiment based in the prefecture. “I thought everyone must have rushed to escape.”
The regiment’s firefighting unit had received orders the night before to go to the nuclear plant. His squad members thought their task was to prepare for the possibility of a fire, but Sato, even though he had been told since childhood that nuclear power is safe, felt something out of the ordinary was happening.
When they arrived at the plant gates at around 7 a.m. on March 12, he was greeted by an acquaintance who works for Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Sato wondered why the Tepco employee was wearing a mask. He didn’t know at the time that the radiation level at the site was rising because a meltdown was occurring in the No. 1 reactor due to the loss of its key cooling functions.
After entering the emergency response office building, the firefighting squad was finally told what to do.
At the time, Tepco was using a single fire engine to inject water into reactor 1, but every time the truck had to return to a storage tank to be refilled, it meant halting the flow of water being sprayed into the unit.
The SDF’s firetrucks were supposed to assist in the operation.
Inside the main control room for reactors 1 and 2, workers were demoralized and exhausted after an attempt to open valves to reduce the pressure in reactor 1 ended in failure because of high radiation levels inside the reactor building.
It was imperative to open the valves to prevent a rupture of the containment vessel……….

At the main control room for reactors 1 and 2, Izawa instructed others to wear full-face masks, though no one knew yet what had happened at this point.
“I later found it was a hydrogen explosion at the building, but at the time, I thought the reactor containment vessel itself had exploded,” said Mitsuyuki Ono, 51, who was also in the room. “I thought it was all over.”
There were some 40 reactor operators in the room, but everyone was exhausted after trying to do all they could to prevent the worst.
Izawa decided to stay along with the more experienced workers, and let the others evacuate.
The roughly 10 workers who remained included Izawa, Ono and 48-year-old Kazuhiro Yoshida, whom Ono had once worked with in operating the No. 1 reactor.
Ono was wondering how he could communicate to his family what he thought might be his final moments. If he wrote anything down on paper, it would probably be incinerated if there was an explosion.
“Why don’t we take a photo at the end,” Yoshida proposed cheerfully, as if he had read Ono’s mind. Everyone seemed to liven up.
The room, which was dark due to the loss of power, was lit up with flashing cameras.
Ono, having a picture taken with Yoshida by his side, a junior operator whom he trusted and liked the most, thought: “If the radiation level rises or hot steam comes into the control room, I will probably die. But someone will find the camera some day. Then this picture will be the witness to my life.”
Source: Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/09/10/national/hydrogen-explosion-left-fukushima-no-1-workers-sure-they-would-die/
http://fukushimaemergencywhatcanwedo.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/hydrogen-explosion-left-fukushima-no-1.html

September 11, 2014 - Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Fukushima continuing

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