Tepco Worker’s Email Reveals Personal Struggles

TEPCO workers struggle to keep up with the disaster amongst all the debrisWall Street Journal – By PETER LANDERS And NORIHIKO SHIROUZU- TOKYO  An email from a Tokyo Electric Power Co. employee working at one of the Fukushima nuclear power plants gives a rare look at how employees are grappling with personal loss even while working around the clock to respond to the March 11 quake.

“My parents were washed away by the tsunami and I still don’t know where they are. Normally I would rush to their house as soon as I could. But I can’t even enter the area because it is under an evacuation order,” says the email signed by the author, who works for the plant manager at the Fukushima Daini plant near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

Tokyo Electric Power spokesman Hiro Hasegawa said the email, sent last Wednesday to a private email list and viewed by The Wall Street Journal, is “authentic.” The worker didn’t return emails seeking comment and couldn’t be reached.

“Most of the people working at 1F and 2F [Daiichi and Daini] live in this area, and they are all victims of the disaster,” the email said. The author said that where her parents lived, “the whole town was washed away by the tsunami.”

The worker said that people in her plant were working “without sleep or rest,” in part because they were helping Fukushima Daiichi’s recovery efforts. “The scene is completely like a war zone,” she said.

She said the tsunami was an “act of heaven” and the people who work in nuclear power weren’t at fault. Nonetheless, she said Tepco executives should recognize that people who live near the plant, especially those forced to evacuate from a 20-kilometer zone around it, were suffering greatly.

“Local children will have to transfer to schools in their places of refuge. Everyone has lost everything—their home, their job, their school, their friends, their families,” she wrote.

Contacted by email, Tepco officials at the Fukushima plants declined to comment on the email but offered apologies for causing the release of radiation and other problems.

The author expressed loyalty to Tepco, saying: “We are all working hard to complete our tasks as Tepco employees, before thinking of ourselves as disaster victims.” She concluded, “We will fight to the end!”

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