I was thinking today about the evacuation of all but a skeleton crew from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and the workers I know elsewhere in Japan. The New York Times says
Nuclear reactor operators say that their profession is typified by the same kind of esprit de corps found among firefighters and elite military units. Lunchroom conversations at reactors frequently turn to what operators would do in a severe emergency.
The consensus is always that they would warn their families to flee before staying at their posts to the end, said Michael Friedlander, a former senior operator at three American power plants for a total of 13 years.
They go on to point out that Japanese workers are even more tied to their jobs, and brought up with much more of a sense of shared sacrifice than we are. Which is right where I was when I thought of my friends there.
By “there”, of course I mean in Tokyo and Niihama, far from Fukushima, but still of the same bent. I’m quite sure that any of the workers I know at Sumitomo Heavy Industries would go down with the plant if there were some emergency where others’ lives were threatened. And they never signed up for danger. It’s just what you do.
So yeah, I guarantee that everyone still at Fukushima-I is doing whatever is possible to maintain control of the situation, regardless of the danger. Watch for the stories that come out of this. There will be heroes.