Japanese Senior Citizens Volunteer To Work In Fukushima Plant
Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2011, 7:05 AM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 25 May 2011, 7:05 AM EDT
TOKYO - A group of Japanese senior citizens are volunteering to risk their lives by working in the devastated Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The male and female retirees said Wednesday that young emergency workers should not put their health and fertility at risk by exposing themselves to potentially deadly levels of radiation as they try to repair the functions that cool down the reactor.
The self-styled "Skilled Veterans Corps" said that as the generation who built and benefited from Japan's beleaguered nuclear power program, they should be the ones who try to control temperatures in the overheated reactor.
"Our generation which has, consciously or unconsciously, approved the construction of the Fukushima nuclear power plants and enjoyed the benefits of the vast supply of electricity ... should be the first to join the Skilled Veteran Corps," said Yasuteru Yamada, the 72-year-old retired engineer who created the group.
He added, "Young people with a long future should not have to be placed in a position of having to undertake such a task. Radiation exposure of [the] generation which [will] reproduce the next generation should be avoided."
Yamada, who created a multilingual website to entice recruits, has attracted 180 members, aged 54 to 78, willing to work at the Fukushima plant.
Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) confirmed Tuesday that three nuclear reactors at the plant melted in the first days after the earthquake and tsunami.
More than 100 people work at the Fukushima plant, but TEPCO is experiencing difficulties in recruiting workers to repair the damaged reactors. The company has not publicly commented on the senior citizens' proposal
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