Inside the Hell That Is Fukushima
Little sleep, food, water; plenty of stress, danger, misery
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2011 7:56 AM CDT
Only Unit 2 is covered with white concrete housing, seen on left of an iron tower on right, at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan, on Tuesday, March 29, 2011.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
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(Newser) – As if risking their lives to work feverishly to avoid nuclear meltdown wasn't grim enough, there's no respite for the weary workers at Japan's hobbled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. A Japanese nuclear official who just returned from five days at Fukushima paints a picture of life on the inside, reports the LA Times, with catnaps caught in hallways, two sparse meals a day (breakfast is typically crackers and vegetable juice), no running water or way of bathing, and no contact with family. "I don't think the workers have the energy they need to work under these extremely tough conditions," says the official.

Add to that the stress of looming disaster and TEPCO's seeming incompetence at gauging the radiation levels to which it's exposing the 450 or so employees fighting to stabilize Fukushima. "These things are an indication that they don't have good control on radiation protection," says an expert. But beyond the danger, basic needs are going by the wayside. "Some have expressed concern about not being able to change their underwear," says the nuclear official.