Fukushima hero reveals 'fears of never coming back after entering nuclear plant'

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 02, 2013 11:00 hrs

Atsufumi Yoshizawa, who showed exemplary courage along with few other brave men during the horrendous Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, has revealed while they entered the nuclear plant to resurrect it there were fears they won't ever return back.

A stoic, soft-spoken man dressed in the blue utility suit of his embattled employer Tokyo Electric Power Co., (Tepco) Yoshizawa still finds it hard to dredge up memories of fighting to stop catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the Independent reports.

Yoshizawa recalls hearing the first reports inside the bunker of oil tanks and cars floating in water outside, saying he just couldn't imagine a tsunami that big.

The Japanese engineer said he moved offsite for a few days to a disaster-response building in the town of Okuma, 5 km away, but on 15 and 16 March 2011 the situation at Daiichi reached its most critical phase.

A series of hydrogen explosions had left much of the complex a tangled mess of radioactive concrete and steel.

In his darkest moments, Yoshizawa admitted he shared the same fear as other experts that the crisis could also trigger the evacuation of the Fukushima Daini plant 10 km away.

The engineer recalled despairing at the situation, saying most people thought theu would not be coming back from the plant

Throughout the following weeks on the frontline of the crisis, the brave men endured brutal conditions. Deliveries stalled, food almost ran out and water was restricted to a single 500ml bottle every two days, the paper reported.

Working in shifts, surviving on biscuits and sleeping when he could inside the radiation-proofed bunker, the paper said.

As elite firefighters succeeded in getting water to the overheating reactors, the collective psyche inside the bunker lightened and the dreaded words 'oshimai da' (it's the end), were no longer heard, the paper added.

Exhausted and disheveled on his first trip back to a sunny Tokyo a month after the quake, Yoshizawa also admitted he was startled to find life going on as normal. (ANI)

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