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Nuclear saviors: Fukushima 50 doing what god would not

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Nuclear Death

Photo used under Creative Commons license

Explosions, fires, exposed fuel rods. We are almost impotent watching crisis after crisis unfold at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The picture coming out is one of a loosening grip on the disaster. At the time of this writing, there are reports that spent fuel rods at the No. 4 reactor may reach “criticality” again and restart a chain reaction. The consequences would be far deadlier than at the other reactors, because these rods are stored outside containment structures, after being taken offline before the earthquake hit.

All that stopping the plant from going nuclear is 50-70 workers who have stayed, as TEPCO, the power company with a shady past and present, pulled out the other 750 workers. They have been dubbed the “Fukushima 50”, and they accept the probability of death: without protective equipment, one may not last more than ten minutes outside these reactors. The situation is so dangerous than anyone within 20 miles has been told to leave.

As CBS News described in that report, a Japanese official said his friend, one of the Fukushima 50, has told him that he was ready to die, that it was his job.

Numerous well-meaning folks have urged people to pray for these self-sacrificing heroes. Well, why won’t a god who can create a whole universe not lift a finger in these critical times?

We know, hopefully, what we would do with the ability to stop the nuclear reactions. And those 50 heroes are trying their human best. The question has been mangled by centuries of theologians, but comes down to this: would you? Ultimately, the justification is that there is some grand plan we do not understand.

Scrap the plan. Don’t try to justify preventable deaths, or you can justify anything. Only religions can make someone do that. We are better than that. The Fukushima 50 have shown we can be better than god. Remember what they are doing as you go about the rest of your life, because they may not have a chance to go about theirs.

Update: The danger of fatality may have been proved, as Japan abandons stricken nuke plant over radiation, but not before two workers went missing in a blast.


Written by Gnostradamus

Tue, 3/15/11 at 2230