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Altruism Unfolding March 17, 2011

Posted by Nina Rosenstand in Current Events, Ethics, Nina Rosenstand's Posts.
Tags: , , ,

A moving story is unfolding at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan: a group of engineers (now becoming known as “the Fukushima 50” although there appear to be close to 200 individuals) who were ordered out of the structure have volunteered to keep working, at levels of radiation that may be lethal. Assuming the the story is as reported, the workers’ willingness to do the right thing while risking their lives deserves to be mentioned as a case where reality matches, or even outdoes fictional narratives of self-sacrifice.

From BBC:

One woman told the papers her father, who had worked for an electric company for 40 years, had volunteered to help.

He was due to retire in September.

“The future of the nuclear plant depends on how we resolve this crisis,” he was reported to have told his daughter. “I feel it’s my mission to help.”

The workers might be faceless heroes for the moment, but their bravery has won them the admiration of many Japanese.

“They are sacrificing themselves for the Japanese people,” says Fukuda Kensuke, a white collar worker in Tokyo. “I feel really grateful to those who continue to work there.”

“They’re putting their life on the line,” agrees Maeda Akihiro. “If that place explodes, it’s the end for all of us, so all I can do is send them encouragement.”

From New York Post/AP:

“My dad went to the Nuclear Plant. I never heard my mother cry so hard. People at the plant are struggling, sacrificing themselves to protect you. Please dad come back alive,” read a tweet by Twitter user @nekkonekonyaa.

“My husband is working knowing he could be radiated,” said one woman, according to ABC News.

He told her via email, “Please continue to live well. I cannot be home for awhile.”

An email from the daughter of one volunteered was shared on Japanese TV and read, “My father is still working at the plant — they are running out of food…we think conditions are really tough. He says he’s accepted his fate…much like a death sentence.”

The nearly 200 workers are rotated in and out of the danger zone in groups of 50, taking turns eating and sleeping in a decontaminated area about the size of an average living room.

I will update the story here, and also through Twitter.



1. Thomas Rosenstand - March 18, 2011

Hi Nina

The story of the workers at Fukushima is truly amazing. Thanks for sharing!

BTW: Are we family somehow?

2. Nina Rosenstand - March 19, 2011

All Rosenstands are family! Welcome to the blog, and stay tuned.

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