The earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan from March 2011 was obviously one the major news events of the year internationally. Clearly, the loss of life that occurred was a heartbreaking and horrific tragedy, as well all realize. Those images of the waves destroying buildings and wiping out communities are ones that many of us won’t forget, even if far across the world from where it actually occurred.
Soon after, as we recall, there was grave concern over the state of the nuclear reactors. The Fukushima nuclear plant was in the news daily, as there were constant reports of a potential meltdown. Comparisons to the 1979 Three Mile Island disaster in the U.S soon shifted to comparisons to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine – which was much worse. Thankfully, things didn’t actually progress to the point of the latter disaster, which rendered certain surrounding Ukraine uninhabitable to humans even through today.
In light of this, it really struck me how there were people who were actually working at the Japanese facilities during this crisis. Now, I do admire these people for their commitment and what I view as bravery. Having said that, my thinking at the time is that there was no way I would even think of taking on a job like that under any circumstances. The risk of radiation exposure, and the resulting health problems, would be too great. My kids need to have me around for a long time! If that sounds selfish, so be it I guess! But I suspect many people might see it that way.
Anyway, many months after the situation in Japan was in the world’s spotlight, there were extreme levels of radiation detected again at the plant. It was noted in early August that there was an area near two of the reactors that measured doses of radiation that were fatal to humans. Pretty intense, huh? Fatal. Yikes!
All this brings me back to conversations I had with a friend at the time of the original crisis. I posed the question to him, “how much would you have to be paid to go over there and work at Fukushima?”
He said he wouldn’t do it for any amount of money. “10 million dollars?” I asked. His response: “No.”
I would have to agree with him. There is no amount of money I would take to work in one of those jobs, considering the risks I perceive. No matter what money problems I had, I wouldn’t do it. Even if being there for 1 year meant that I could retire immediately and have guaranteed money to leave to my heirs. No way. They say workers wear protective antiradiation clothing, but is that foolproof?
Now, I’m guessing some people might do it out of social responsibility, honor, or some other altruistic reason. That’s commendable, and it’s good that somebody has the capacity to do that. Money isn’t everything, after all.
Which leads me to my thought that since money isn’t everything, I wouldn’t work in that situation no matter what I was paid. Based on my perceptions of the risks, anyway.
My Question for You:
Let’s say you could name your price. How much would it take for you to be right there on the front lines in the most dangerous area, wearing the antiradiation clothing, working in Japan at the Fukushima facility? In light of the radiation scares, of course.