NPR FOR THE DEF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t


Almost one year ago, the Fukushima nuclear disaster nearly led to a global catastrophe, if not for the efforts of a small group of engineers, soldiers, and firemen, who risked their own lives in the days after the disaster to prevent a complete nuclear meltdown. Investigative reporter Dan Edge wanted to find out what it was like for the workers who were inside the Fukushima Dai-icihi Nuclear Power Plant when the meltdowns began. His new Frontline documentary chronicles what happened to those plant engineers, as well as what happened to the small corps of workers who entered the power plant in the days following the nuclear disaster. Edge talked to reactor inspectors, local Fukushima residents and nuclear scientists in the Japanese government to piece together Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown, which premieres Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 on PBS at 10 P.M. EST. He tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies that after the tsunami hit, power went out in Fukushima Dai-icihi, leaving the remaining workers stranded in the dark. “It must have been horrific for them,” says Edge. “Not only do they have no power for the cooling systems, they have no lights for the instrumentation. They do not know what is happening inside the nuclear reactor. They feared the worst.” Improvising, the workers went out into the parking lots of the plant and ripped car batteries out of their cars in order to bring some of the instrumentation in the plant back to life. “They discovered that the pressure in the reactor is out of control,” he says. “It’s much, much, much too high. And this is a nightmare scenario for someone who works in nuclear power plants.” MORE

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