TOKYO — The embattled operator of Japan‘s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has released workers’ accounts of the desperate moments surrounding the huge earthquake and tsunami that triggered an atomic crisis.
An unnamed chief operator was quoted as saying;
“I felt totally at a loss after losing power sources,” he said. “Other workers appeared anxious. They argued, and one asked: ‘Is there any reason for us to be here when there is nothing we can do to control (the reactors)?'”
“I bowed and begged them to stay.”
Workers described attempts to release pressure from a reactor container by manually opening a ventilation valve.
“We put on the full protection gear but couldn’t possibly let young workers do the task, as we had to go into an area where the radiation levels were high,” one worker recalled.
“When I got to the place to open the valve, I heard eerie, deep popping noise from the torus (a donut-shaped structure at the bottom of the reactor),” he said.
“When I put one of my feet on the torus to reach the valve, my black rubber boot melted and slipped (due to the heat).”
Another worker spoke of the race to lay power cables and bring back the supply of electricity, saying:
“It was an operation we had to do in puddles, fearing electrification,” .
Fukushima Daiichi plant chief Masao Yoshida told state broadcaster NHK:
Referring to a hydrogen explosion that tore apart the buildings around rectors 1 and 3, he said: “I thought it was all over.”
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