Workers at Japan's severely damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant believe they will likely die from the radiation exposure they have endured while trying to keep the nuclear reactors from melting down, the mother of one of the workers told Fox News.
"He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term," the mother of a 32-year-old worker said through a translator. She asked to remain anonymous because the plant workers and their families have been told not to speak to the media.
A group of workers, dubbed the "Fukushima 50" have remained at the earthquake- and tsunami-damaged site despite dangerous levels of radiation in the air and water there. They have "discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation," the woman said.
Online postings and emails from workers at Japan's nuclear power plants havein the three weeks since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which is estimated to have killed 19,000 people.
In the handful of messages posted on social networking websites and obtained by media outlets, workers acknowledge that they might not survive efforts to prevent a meltdown at the nuclear plant and ask readers to appreciate that trying to contain leaking radiation has prevented them from reconnecting with loved ones they haven't seen since the natural disaster hit.
"My town is gone," a worker named Emiko Ueno wrote in an email that The New York Times published in print editions Thursday. "My parents are still missing. I still cannot get in the area because of the evacuation order. I still have to work in such a mental state. This is my limit."
Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the stricken plant, says medical teams conduct regular testing on the workers for signs of radiation sickness, Fox reported. Three workers were hospitalized last week after being burned by highly radioactive water, but no further hospitalizations have been reported.
Men working at the site have been sleeping in conference rooms and hallways, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said. The worker's mother said that her son has been sleeping on a desk because he is afraid of further radiation exposure from lying on the floor.
It's probably a given that we employees are to handle the situation even if the consequences may be dire for us. So we are doing what we can as best as we can. We will be carrying a cross on our back for the rest of our lives... We are very sorry for the inconvenience we are causing because of the scheduled blackouts ... We employees at TEPCO have not been able to make time to take care of our own health let alone check on our own families' safety.