By Yosuke Akai, Kentaro Uechi, and Yuki Takayama
6 May 2011
As critical repairs continue at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, its operator is finding it difficult to find people willing to work at the plant.
The tally of workers at the plant as of May 3 was 1,312 people. Many of them are employed by subcontractors hired by operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Many current employees are anxious about the dangers of high radiation and what they say are the plant's poor labor conditions.
According to a company that supplies workers to the Fukushima plant, it has become increasingly difficult to send the necessary number of people.
Many workers who went to the plant immediately after the March 11 accident now refuse to return, citing bad labor conditions.
On March 24, three workers were accidentally exposed to high levels of radiation. Since then, many workers have been begged by their families not to work at the plant again. …
According to several workers at the nuclear power plant, many places inside the compound are filled with highly radioactive rubble that was scattered by hydrogen explosions. Work to remove the rubble to clear passageways is not making much progress, they said.
"Whenever we pass near the rubble, our portable dosimeters sound an alarm," one worker for a subcontractor said. …
The daily stress of radiation exposure fears are causing many workers to experience symptoms of chronic illness, such as hyperventilation or abnormal heartbeats. …