A First Person's Narrative 'I Was Inside Fukushima Nuclear Plant When The Quake Hit'

Tyler Durden's picture

The BBC has released a dramatic recollection of events at ground zero when the Japanese earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11. The source is an unnamed maintenance worker who witnessed and experienced events in real time. Below is his story.

When the massive earthquake occurred it was a little before three o'clock in the afternoon.

The 31-year-old, who runs a turbine maintenance company subcontracted to work at the plant, was doing a regular check-up of the turbine in the No 5 reactor when the quake hit.

"Heavy machinery, cranes were shaking above our heads. After about three minutes all the electricity went out," he told the BBC World Service.

"The shaking went on for about five minutes, and it was very strong.

"I shouted out my colleagues' names and used a torch to try and check that everyone was okay."

The earth started shaking again and they all ran outside.

When it was confirmed that everyone was safe, workers were given permission to go back home to their families.

He got in his car and drove away as quickly as he could.

"I knew there was a tsunami coming," he said. "I saw the warning on the TV in my car, about 20 minutes after the first quake."

However, he said, the scale of it was totally unexpected.

"Although the shaking was very strong, I did not predict the scale of the tsunami, I didn't imagine the power station would be damaged in the way it was."

The man says workers were well aware that the plant, commissioned in the 1970s, was relatively old.

"But even knowing that I did not think the plant would fall into a situation like this.

"If it was only the quake, I think the situation would not so bad. But because of the tsunami, things like the emergency switches were destroyed."

Once he realised that the nuclear plant had been damaged, the worker says his first priority was to warn his family and friends.

"I knew that radiation affected people's health badly, and as soon as I knew that the radiation was leaking, I told my family and friends to escape immediately, as far away as possible," he said.

But, he said, he would go back to work at the plant if he could.

"If it was possible, I would go back and work there. But we cannot do anything. The people working at the site now are expert workers from Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco)," he said.

"We want to go back and help the people working to manage the situation, to stop it getting worse. We cannot go back no matter how much we want to. It's frustrating, but we just cannot help them."

Highly polluted

He says he is aware there are health risks for those working inside the plant.

"The situation is changing day by day. If they asked me to go back now, I realise there is a degree of risk."

The worker says although he is prepared to go back inside the plant, he would not let his employees work there.

"I am a boss of a company, and I cannot send in my workers knowing that the site is highly polluted."

Despite the disaster unfolding at the plant, he says he doesn't blame Tepco, the company that runs it.

"Although the situation is not good, they are working really hard to minimise the damage. It's nobody's fault, it's not Tepco's fault. They are doing their best to minimise the damage."

Although he is currently staying with friends in Chiba prefecture, well beyond the current 20km exclusion zone, his house is only 3km from the reactor.

He says he wants to go back home.

"If possible I want to go back. There are a lot of memories there. I guess it's a common feeling for all people, to feel sad when you cannot go back to the home where you grew up.

"I think if this disaster happened in another country, people would feel the same as we do."

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MaximumPig's picture

nice one ("oh the Japanity")

nkktwotwozero's picture

My monk watches TV in his Prius.

Homey Da Clown's picture

Is Illinois outside of the danger zone? Just askin



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) - Radiation believed to be from the nuclear plant disaster in Japan has been detected in Illinois.

The radioactive iodine similar to what was released in Japan was found in a grass clipping in the Joliet area by the Radiological Assessment Field Team, which regularly checks on vegetation, air, milk and eggs to determine if any radiation is leaking from Illinois’ nuclear reactors.


How long until J6p begins to feel this isn't a joke?


Harlequin001's picture

Obama's promised you it won't be there, so don't worry...

Harlequin001's picture

Fuck me, Obama's fan just junked me...

surely not...

Obama's got two fans everybody...

They're both online...

TeamAmerica's picture

Illinois is outside the danger zone, as is all of the USA.   Radiation from Fukushima will eventually be detectable everywhere on Earth in some degree - it's going to quickly become academic as to whether one state is hit harder than any other. 

Matte_Black's picture

This is for US midwest, today and tomorrow.


But don't worry, the gov has taken steps to protect us:

EPA ready to increase radioactive release guidelines


nkktwotwozero's picture

Relax Homey. "Ow my Balls!" is on.

franzpick's picture

For 3 weeks, juvenile and 1 year old bluefin tuna have been swimming around inside the 25 klic Fukushima exclusion zone;  wonder what declaratory judgements and conclusions the authorities have planned to make when these and other fish are seen floating belly up off the Honshu coast ???

earnulf's picture

I'd be more worried about the 10 degree area just southeast of the plant which has been swept several times since the disaster with waves of radioactive iodine.   Sure the pacific is big, but that 10 degree square on the map has been saturated continously with fallout since this started.    Wonder when the fishing in that part of the Pacific will be opened up for human consumption?   Glowfin Tuna, new japanese delicacy!

constanceplumtree's picture

last night on CBC news the science guy said when asked about the seawater contamination numbers, "more of a perception problem, because they just started measuring"!!!! translation...when they didn't know about it, it wasn't a problem!!! think his name is Jay Ingram.  He has lost all my respect.

evolutionx's picture

tokyo is lucky so far - but how long. In the meantime radioactiv fallout is contaminating the pacific - and, basically is driving against the US-westcoast

currtent forecast of the movement of the atomic cloud:



Gully Foyle's picture


None of Virginia’s radiation monitoring systems has detected a level of radioactive material that would pose a public health concern, according to the state’s health commissioner. However, the state's health department is advising residents that although the state’s drinking water supplies remain safe, they should "avoid using rainwater collected in cisterns as drinking water."

bob_dabolina's picture

Just avoid water in general.

If it contains water stay-away

Homey Da Clown's picture

And pray tell, what do those vegetable and fruit thingies grow in? I'm sure all the farmers will begin using bottled water for their crops. Same for those cattle and chicken ranches. Rainwater has no impact on them.


On a similar note, I bet the tobacco from VA won't need a lighter to smoke.



TeamAmerica's picture

Because...why?   I suppose he's saying that rainwater off your roof is likely to contain more radioactive particles than what you get from a reservoir, but either there is danger or there isn't.   He knows there isn't, and says there isn't...but then goes and implies that there is.  Dumb.

snakeboat's picture

Radioactive fallout + giant whirlpool of plastic mid-pacific + sealife = GODZIRRA!!!

TeamAmerica's picture

I'm curious how you can look at this computer simulation and conclude that fallout "is driving against the US-westcoast".  It accurately shows the cloud dissipating with distance.  Please note that it fades away to "nothing*" within some hundreds miles of Japan...several thousand miles short of Hawai'i, much less the US west coast.

*"nothing" is not zero.   Somebody needs to model the whole planet with pretty color densities to reassure those who are concerned about this.  

Homey Da Clown's picture

Please, someone stop this insanity. They are pressuring people to bring back their innocent children to these contaminated areas to save face.

"Japanese elementary school starts in April. The commencement ceremonies are coming up. The national government’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT) is putting pressure on the Fukushima Prefectural education board to hold the ceremonies as scheduled. This is silent pressure bearing down from the national government on the prefecture.
In these areas, the parents have self-evacuated about 90% of their elementary and pre-school age children. However, because of this national government’s directive to hold the commencement ceremonies on schedule, right now the parents are getting their children to come back and this is happening rapidly."

Harlequin001's picture

Sometimes you just have to be a grown up...

Sometimes you just have to say no.

I'm sure that one day these same spineless parents will come asking for my sympathy and I'm afraid it may be sadly lacking.

Who's life is it anyway, yours or your governments?

Gully Foyle's picture


"Who's life is it anyway, yours or your governments?"

Guess it depends on which side of a Capitol building you are on.

Harlequin001's picture

can't argue with that...

but I do like to think I make my own decisions though, and that I am responsible for my own actions...

MSimon's picture

One day of exposure is not a big deal even at the current levels.

FilthyLucre's picture

What a furphy. Exposure to sources in the environment which can be ingested or inhaled is not the same as short term exposure. You shouldn't conflate the two its somewhat disingenious.

Comparisons between environmental exposure and exposure to short term sources such as x-rays etc is part of the big lie - its disinformation at its best.

More damned lies and statistics from AP, Reuters, etc... "1000mSv/hr was detected which is 4 times the safe limit for Japanese nuclear workers", well no, the current maximum exposure limit for Japanese nuclear workers is 250mSv/YEAR which makes 1000mSv/hr 35,000 times this limit - but this comparison really doesn't make any sense. The biological safety of radio isotopes is complex and much of it statistical, its not cut and dried. Different types of radiation have different effects, different isotopes have different biological half lifes and are metabolised in different ways.

Even though governments and the media would seemingly have you believe that there is such a thing as a safe dose of radiation which can all be boiled down to a single number like a mSv - it can't.

Geoff-UK's picture

Shocking that a tsunami would happen after an earthquake in Japan and wash away the pump stations.


Shocking.  Couldn't have been predicted.


<sarcasm off>

Infinite QE's picture

Funny thing is that none of the photos or videos after the event showed any damage nor water. Spin spin spin.

malek's picture

I have seen satellite photos, before the first reactor building roof blew off, that clearly showed debris around the blocks that I assumed was washed up by the tsunami. (Might have even seen them on ZH.)

divide_by_zero's picture

Yeah, the digitalglobe satellite photos showed lots of damage to the water intakes and even some of the large cyclindrical fuel tanks moved a considerable distance.

Infinite QE's picture

Gotta link? All the photos I've seen here were post explosions. Thanks.


Stormdancer's picture

zooming in on Fukushima using Google Earth will give you enough pre-tsunami detail for comparison.

divide_by_zero's picture

Someone posted the before/after shots on a thread the first week of the disaster, can't find it right now. But IIRC it originated from another blog but you can get the photos on the digitalglobe site and as mentioned use googel sat photos.

flattrader's picture

Can anyone with the right background shed light on this?

Another plant worker recently came forward with this info--


International nuclear experts believe that melted fuel in reactor No. 1 has caused a "localized criticality," which is a small, uncontrolled chain reaction that occasionally emits a burst of heat, radiation and a blue flash of light.

More than a week ago an intermittent neutron beam was eminatting from one of the reactors.  The Japanese didn’t believe their readings or that it was even possible. A Swedish physicist claimed otherwise.

The Japanes press don't ask the "hard questions".

As our friend at http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/  noted:

And still no one in the national government openly talks about "wind direction". Not even the commissioners in Nuclear Safety Commission, who are researchers and professors at prominent institutions and should know better than politicians and bureaucrats.

What's more curious to me is that there is no reporter in Japan who asks, "What about wind directions?" Or, "Why wouldn't you take the soil radiation into consideration particularly when the villagers make a living in agriculture?"

We are left to speculate on our own.

JohnG's picture

If one "sees" that blue "light" they are dead, dead, dead.

It's believed that this is not light, and the blue is particles passing through the retina.

Massive radiation dose.  Deathly.

NaN's picture

The blue light in air is simple ionization (plasma).  The retina b.s. is from the chemtrails  crowd.


trav7777's picture

ionization from passing neutrons?  interesting...

MSimon's picture

Who said anything about neutrons?



trav7777's picture

maybe it's cerenkov from fluid inside your eyeballs

divide_by_zero's picture

Check out the first exposure incident, blue flashes kill dude got 12,000 rem 35hrs later game over


whstlblwr's picture

You know who gets it. Alec Baldwin. He'd be good president. He's critical of Obama, and mad at nuclear bullshit

If we want to create change, we can start it. Or we have discussion on who we choose for president. Then we get them on ballot. I nominate Baldwin. If agree with me, everyone try to contact Baldwin, let's get his name on the ballot.

Putting message on more posts for feedback.

fuu's picture

Haven't we had enough of paid actors leading our nation? Jesus Christ on a Nuclear Fuel Stick.


When will this insanity end?

MsCreant's picture

At that rate might as well nominate Charlie Sheen. He is after all #winning#.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

And Charlie wins now, not this winning the future bullshit. 

davepowers's picture

Baldwin/Sheen 2012!

Just make sure we get the right Baldwin. 

Big Corked Boots's picture

Naaah. I'm buying chicks this weekend at TSC. I'm gonna breed a president out of one of them. Do you think I should start with a Buff Orpington or an Arunacana?


Sure hope you are being as sarcastic as I am.

flacorps's picture

If you had heard that recorded phone call where he went ballistic, you would know that he's too erratic and irascible to put in charge of a McDonalds, much less the U.S.

Seer's picture

And, yet, there's John McCain...

Paul S.'s picture

I've had enough practical jokes for one evening. Good night, Future Boy!