NATIONAL MAR. 15, 2014 - 06:25AM JST ( 26 )
Fukushima nuclear plant workers rally against TEPCO
Fukushima nuclear workers and their supporters shout slogans outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on Friday.
Fukushima nuclear plant workers rallied outside the headquarters of operator Tokyo Electric Power on Friday, complaining they were forced to work for meager pay in dangerous conditions.
The group of about 100 demonstrators shouted and pumped their fists in the air as they railed against being cheated by contractors hired to find recruits to clean up the shattered site and surrounding area.
“Workers at the Fukushima plant have been forced to do unreasonable tasks with no decent safety measures,” said one man in his 30s, who declined to give his name.
He said he was laid off after several months in the job due to heavy radiation exposure.
“Workers are forced to handle contaminated water in such grim working conditions, where any human being should not be put to work,” he said.
“They tend to make easy mistakes under the pressure, but it’s not they who are at fault—it’s the conditions that force them to do terrible tasks.”
Three years since a towering wall of water plunged the Fukushima nuclear plant into darkness on March 11, 2011 and sent reactors into meltdown, plant workers have yet to even start dismantling the crippled reactors.
The decommissioning process is expected to stretch over decades.
Several thousand employees at the plant are locked in a daily—and dangerous—scramble to keep the site as safe as possible, making myriad repairs and building tanks for the vast amounts of water contaminated after being used to cool reactors.