Chernobyl ‘jumper’ airs Fukushima fears via The Japan Times

Singapore — Sergei Belyakov, a scientist who helped clean up debris after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, is worried about Japanese workers now risking their lives to contain the aftermath of core meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

“I really feel sorry for the situation in Fukushima, honestly,” the 55-year-old “jumper” in Chernobyl said.

Jumpers were the workers who risked their lives by “jumping” into highly contaminated zones at the damaged nuclear station in Chernobyl, rarely spending more than seconds in the danger zone before jumping back out to safety.

Now a U.S. citizen and scientist working for Albany Molecular Research Inc. in Singapore, Belyakov recalled his 40 days in Chernobyl in 1986.

“The reason why I am so affected (by the Fukushima disaster) is that I feel for these guys who work at the station as jumpers because every day goes by they will have much more effort to clean it up and more health and lives will be lost.”

Belyakov has been monitoring the developments at Fukushima every day since the plant was struck by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

He added that he believes the Japanese government should have immediately sought assistance and advice from those who had direct experience in dealing with the Chernobyl catastrophe.


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