Science

First Glimpses Of The Workers Inside Japan's Troubled Nuclear Plant

Hailed as heroes, the workers at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant have been battling to prevent a nuclear meltdown since a massive quake and tsunami crippled the facility on March 11. Now, Japanese nuclear safety officials and the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the devastated plant, have begun releasing images that bring home in a visceral way the challenges these workers face — including the very basic obstacle of working in the dark.

A Tokyo  Electric Power Co. worker looks at gauges in the control room for Units 1  and 2 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, Wednesday.

A Tokyo Electric Power Co. worker looks at gauges in the control room for Units 1 and 2 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, Wednesday. AP Photo/Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency hide caption

itoggle caption AP Photo/Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency
Workers collect data in the control room for Units 1  and 2.

Workers collect data in the control room for Units 1 and 2. AP Photo/Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency hide caption

itoggle caption AP Photo/Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency
Workers collect data as part of an effort to repair a damaged reactor.

Workers collect data as part of an effort to repair a damaged reactor. AP Photo/Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency hide caption

itoggle caption AP Photo/Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency
Workers in protective suits spray  water  at Unit 4. The building housing the reactor was badly damaged by fire and explosion.

Workers in protective suits spray water at Unit 4. The building housing the reactor was badly damaged by fire and explosion. AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co. hide caption

itoggle caption AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Around the world, many have voiced concern for the scientists, engineers and others who stayed behind, at real risk to their own health, in an effort to contain the crisis and prevent large amounts of radiation from leaking out.

Nearly two weeks since the crisis began, workers have made progress getting the situation under control. This week, lighting was finally restored to some of the reactors' control rooms. But the situation remains dangerous: On Thursday, two workers were hospitalized after coming in contact with radioactive material while laying electrical cables.

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