TEPCO pulls back curtain at Fukushima

Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Friday for the first time let reporters into the base camp for thousands of workers striving every day to fix the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, showing off new dining facilities, a dormitory for single workers and the latest radioactivity monitors to check vehicles and clothing.

What wasn’t readily apparent, however, is the number of temporary dispatch workers without job or health insurance, and who face the ax once their radiation exposure tops out, according to a municipal assembly member from a nearby city.

Read the rest of the story: Calm at J. Village belies the danger.

Nuke Plant Workers Give Glimpse into Japan’s Nuclear Crisis

With the power out, trucks were parked in a circle with their lights on, creating a shadowy stage. A manager from the Tokyo Electric Power Company explained how the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been slammed by a mammoth tsunami and rocked by hydrogen explosions and had become highly radioactive. Some workers wept.

That was the scene at J-Village, 12 miles south of the plant, on the night of March 15. Hundreds of firefighters, Self-Defense Forces and workers from Tokyo Electric Power convened at the sports training center, arguing long and loudly about how best to restore cooling systems and prevent nuclear fuel from overheating. Complicating matters, a lack of phone service meant that they had little input from upper management.

“There were so many ideas, the meeting turned into a panic,” said one longtime Tokyo Electric veteran present that day. He made the comments in an interview with The New York Times, one of several interviews that provided a rare glimpse of the crisis as the company’s workers experienced it. “There were serious arguments between the various sections about whether to go, how to use electrical lines, which facilities to use and so on.”

Read the rest of the story: Panic and Heroism Greeted Crisis at Japan Nuclear Plant.