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article imageGroup of elderly Japanese want to volunteer to work at Fukushima

By KJ Mullins     May 31, 2011 in World
Fukushima may have a group that could tackle the nuclear crisis looming over Japan. The Skilled Veterans Corps, retired engineers and professionals, want to volunteer to work in the dangerous conditions instead of putting younger generations at risk.
More than 200 Japanese retirees are seeking to replace younger workers at Fukushima while the plant is being stabilized.
Founder Yasuteru Yamada said that the group, all over the age of 60, should be facing the dangers of radiation and not the young reports BBC saying that it's not an act of bravery but one that is logical.
"I am 72 and on average I probably have 13 to 15 years left to live," he says.
"Even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 or 30 years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance of getting cancer."
Yamada worked at Sumitomo Metal Industries Limited before retirement. He begin recruiting others in April who were over 60 and had the physical strength to work at the power plant. Yamada has been fighting cancer for four years but wants to do his part so that the crisis does not leave a negative legacy for future generations.
Special adviser to Prime Minister Mr Naoto Kan on the nuclear crisis Mr. Goshi Hosono is reported saying that there is not an immediate need for the elderly workers on Steel Guru:
"We are gradually putting in place a work process in which high levels of radioactivity are not accumulated in a single worker. The basic rule is to establish a work process that does not require such a suicide corps."
Yamada is lobbying the government so that his group will be allowed into the Fukushima power station. The operator, Tepco, has now confirmed that three of the plant's reactors have probably suffered meltdowns.
While some are calling the group kamikazes Yamada disagrees laughing.
"We are not kamikaze. The kamikaze were something strange, no risk management there. They were going to die. But we are going to come back. We have to work but never die."
Over 1,000 people are now working at Fukushima hoping to achieve a 'cold shutdown' by January 2012. It is estimated that it will take 10 years to completely dismantle the plant.
More about Skilled Veterans Corps, nuclear meltdown, Japan, Senior citizens
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