The 180 emergency workers at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power complex are emerging as public heroes in the wake of a disaster spawned by an earthquake and a tsunami.
“I don’t know any other way to say it, but this is like suicide fighters in a war,” said Keiichi Nakagawa, associate professor of the Department of Radiology at the University of Tokyo Hospital.
Small teams of the still-anonymous emergency workers rush in and out for 10 to 15 minutes at a time to pump sea water into the plant’s overheated reactors, monitor them and clear debris from explosions. Any longer would make their exposure to radioactivity too great.
Even at normal times, workers wear coveralls, full-face masks with filters, helmets and double-layer gloves when they enter areas with a risk of radiation exposure. Some of them carry oxygen tanks so they don’t have to inhale any radioactive particles into their lungs.
The highest reading among various locations that had to be accessed by the workers hit 600 millisieverts, equal to several years of the daily exposure limit, according to statistics released by Tokyo Electric Power Company.
Millisieverts (msvs) measure exposure to radiation, which can cause cancer and birth defects. Severe exposure can cause burns and radiation sickness — nausea and vomiting and harm to blood cells.
Tony Irwin, an Australian-based nuclear consultant, said the normal dose for a radiation worker is 20 msvs a year, averaged over five years, with a maximum of 50 millisieverts in any one year.
“So they would be trying to rotate people to make sure they’re within that limit. Now many countries have an emergency limit of 100 msvs a year,” he said. “They’ll wear radiation monitors, so they can see exactly what they’re getting on a real time basis.”
Yet on Wednesday, Japan’s Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare raised the maximum legal exposure for nuclear workers to 250 msvs from 100 msvs. It described the move as “unavoidable due to the circumstances.”
The workers’ challenges last week have included struggling for hours to open a pressure-release valve and allow water to enter the reactors. When a worker left the scene for a short period, the water flow ceased and fuel for pumps bringing up the water ran out.
The workers also have had to walk around the area to measure radioactivity in each place they were supposed to enter, and remove contaminated debris. They also struggle with broken equipment and a lack of electricity.
“The thing I’ve been concerned about right now are the workers. They are at a tremendous risk,” said Don Milton, a doctor who specializes in occupational health at the University of Maryland.
Milton noted reports that some workers have already shown signs of acute radiation sickness. That would be even worse than it sounds because “the sooner it comes on after exposure, the worse it is.”
1. clear v.
清除 (qing1 chu2)
例: Look at the mess on your desk, you’ll have to clear it before we can start working.
2. average n.
平均 (ping2 jun1)
例: If we look at his 100 goals averaged out over four seasons, he has scored an average of 25 goals each season.
3. acute adj.
急性的 (ji2 xing4 de5)
例: It is very serious, he is in acute need of medical attention.
Pets are an inseparable part of people’s lives in the modern world. About 65 percent of US households have at least one pet. On a psychological level, pet companionship can bring better psychological wellbeing; on a biological level, our furry friends can boost human immunity. According to a report in Psychology Today, a review carried out by researchers from the UK’s University of Manchester found that the companionship of pets can result in better psychological wellbeing for people with mental health conditions. The diabetes research center of the University of Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital analyzed data from over 3 million people,
A: Hello, I’d like to book a table for two please. For 7 o’clock, if possible. B: Certainly, sir. Let me see if I can fit you in. I’m afraid we’re fully booked at that time, but we do have a space at 8pm. A: No problem, 8pm will be fine. B: Thank you. I‘ve reserved you a table for two for 8pm. Just to let you know, we operate a “bring your own” policy for wine, and corkage is NT$50 per bottle. A: OK. See you later on. A: 你好，我想要訂位，兩個人，方便的話晚上七點。 B: 好的，先生。讓我看看能不能幫您安排座位。不好意思，我們那段時間的訂位滿了，不過晚上八點還有空位。 A: 沒問題，晚上八點可以。 B: 謝謝您。我幫您預約晚上八點，兩個人的座位。另外，提醒您本餐廳關於「自行帶酒」的規定，每瓶酒酌收新台幣五十元開瓶費。 A: 好的。我們晚點見。 （Edward Jones,
Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (5/5)
坐我的新車去兜風吧（五） A: Can you hear a strange noise? B: Now you mention it, I can hear a faint whirring sound. Also, there’s a slight whiff of burnt rubber. A: Uh-oh! I’d better pull over and take a look... OK, sit tight. I’ll pop the hood and take a look at the engine. B: What’s the prognosis? A: I think the fan belt has worn out and caused the engine to overheat. I’d better call a mechanic... A: 你有聽到一種奇怪的噪音嗎？ B: 既然你說了，我確實有聽到微弱的低沉呼呼聲。另外，我還聞到一點點燒焦的橡膠味。 A: 哦哦！我最好停車檢查一下……。好，你坐穩，我要把引擎蓋打開，看看引擎有沒有問題。 B: 你推斷的病情是什麼？ A: 我想應該是風扇的皮帶破損了，導致引擎過熱。我最好打個電話給維修人員……。 （Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報章厚明譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文:
Let’s dine out tonight (3/5) 今晚我們去餐廳吃飯吧（三） A: Hmm. . . I can’t decide what to order. I’m hesitating between a lamb rogan josh or a beef vindaloo. B: Well, let’s order both and share the dishes. We can also order the tandoori king prawns that I was just eyeing up. A: The prawn dish will perfectly complement the bottle of Australian Chardonnay that I’ve brought along. It’s a great wine, with notes of peaches and lemongrass. B: Cool! Let’s also order some butter naan bread and pilau rice for two. A: 嗯……我無法決定要點哪一道菜。我正在猶豫要點喀什米爾羊肉咖哩，還是辛辣香料牛肉咖哩。 B: 啊，那我們兩個都點，然後分著吃吧。我們還可以點一份坦都里香料烤明蝦，我剛剛一直在看這道菜。 A: 這道明蝦應該能完美搭配我帶來的這瓶澳洲夏多內白葡萄酒。這瓶酒真的很棒哦，帶有桃子和檸檬草的香氣。 B: 酷！那我們也點一些奶油烤餅，和兩人份的香料米飯吧。 （Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報章厚明譯） WARNING: Excessive consumption of alcohol can damage