Photo Series of the Day: The first photos of the so-called Fukushima Fifty — the fifty heroic nuclear reactor employees working around the clock to prevent a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant — have finally emerged.
An additional 150 workers have since joined the original fifty, of which five are believed to have died. Many of those inside the plant readily admit that, while they are still alive, they know radiation poisoning will eventually kill them.
How brilliant are our editorial interns? One, Joe Kloc, created this set of NYC subway-style schematics to show how Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactors (and their fail-safe systems) are supposed to work.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Managing Director Akio Komiri weeps as Japanese officials finally admit that radiation leak is serious enough to kill people. Just how bad could the nuke crisis get? MoJo’s Kate Sheppard reports.
They crawl through labyrinths of equipment in utter darkness pierced only by their flashlights, listening for periodic explosions as hydrogen gas escaping from crippled reactors ignites on contact with air.
They breathe through uncomfortable respirators or carry heavy oxygen tanks on their backs. They wear white, full-body jumpsuits with snug-fitting hoods that provide scant protection from the invisible radiation sleeting through their bodies.
They are the faceless 50, the unnamed operators who stayed behind. They have volunteered, or been assigned, to pump seawater on dangerously exposed nuclear fuel, already thought to be partly melting and spewing radioactive material, to prevent full meltdowns that could throw thousands of tons of radioactive dust high into the air and imperil millions of their compatriots.
MISAWA, Japan (March 15, 2011) — Sailors assigned to Naval Air Facility Misawa help a Misawa City employee transport salvageable fishing equipment at the city’s fishing port. More than 120 sailors and airmen from the base joined Misawa City workers and members of the community in the relief effort.
"Most of the shops are closed and quite a few Japanese people have left Tokyo to stay with relatives further west. Right now it’s very difficult to understand who to trust. While the government wants to minimise panic, the foreign media wants to exaggerate the importance of the latest developments to create a more compelling story. This is leaving many foreign nationals in Japan confused as to who to believe."
A Japanese home is seen adrift in the Pacific Ocean in this photograph taken on March 13, 2011 and released on March 14. Ships and aircrafts from the US Navy’s Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group are searching for survivors in the coastal waters near Sendai, Japan. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord / US Navy via Reuters)