Workers at the out of commission Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant say that the radioactive contaminated water has probably been spilling into the Pacific Ocean since the nuclear meltdown in 2011. If the situation right now, where 300 tonnes of groundwater has been leaking everyday into the ocean, is already considered a “state of emergency”, imagine the damage that has been done if it will be proven that has been happening for 2 1/2 years already.
The workers who were interviewed by an Australian news network say they do not trust that the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) will be able to handle the situation, given the history and the way they’ve dealt with all the setbacks since March 2011. They also believe that another serious accident is inevitable, as power outages and unexplained steam incidents have been part of their lives the past few months. However, they only find out about these incidents from the news, as TEPCO rarely informs employees about incidents like these. Transparency has been a big issue with the operator, with reports indicating that the near-catastrophic meltdown could have been avoided if only they were open about safety issues. Some of the workers claim that TEPCO has known about the spillage since 2011 but they did not do anything about it for fear of a public outcry.
But now that the “secrets” are slowly coming out in the open, TEPCO’s reputation is once again in tatters. One of the workers says he even has to hide what he really does from his family because they will shun him. Even worse, TEPCO does not pay them adequately. “We work at the most dangerous place in Japan. Not only that, I work 12-hour shifts and only get paid 11,000 yen,” he shared with the journalist, at great personal risk. Another worker said that amidst all the issues TEPCO is now facing, one that has not been paid much attention to is workers’ welfare. Aside from the low wages, they are also risking their lives everyday that they go into the plant. “So there’s always the possibility of another explosion, and if that were to happen, we – the workers – would be the first victims,” another worker shared.
[ via ABC ]