Former Fukushima Daiichi plant boss Masao Yoshida, a heroic figure who prevented further tragedy during the March 11 disaster, died of cancer in a Tokyo hospital yesterday according to The Australian.
Yoshida, a nuclear engineer who took charge of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant two years ago as multiple reactors spiraled out of control after a tsunami according to the New York Times.
Yoshida had been chief manager at Fukushima Daiichi for only nine months when a 42-foot tsunami knocked out vital cooling systems to the plant’s six reactors.
Three reactors eventually suffered hydrogen explosions and fuel meltdowns, releasing vast amounts of radioactive matter into the environment.
Although the company was widely criticized for how it handled the disaster, which forced more than 100,000 people from their homes, Mr. Yoshida won praise for his effort to minimize the damage according to the New York Times.
Fox News reported that Yoshida directed operations inside the nuclear center from the time that the alarm sounded to warn of the devastating tsunami that on March 11, 2011, paralyzed the nuclear reactors’ cooling systems and unleashed the worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.
Sense he resigned from his position, Yoshida has been battling cancer of the esophagus, and has now passed away.
The Australian reported that Yoshida was loved by his staff for his stron leadership during the crisis as he battled the “cowardice of his superiors and the disorganization of the Japanese government.”
“At the low point of the disaster, when hydrogen explosions were ripping through the reactor buildings, Mr Yoshida had the men with him in the concrete bunker write their names on a whiteboard as a memorial, assuming they would die.”
Masao Yoshida was a man that many respected for his honor and his courage during this crisis.
TEPCO yesterday confirmed Yoshida’s death and said it was in discussions with his family about funeral arrangements.
[Image by Steve Herman via Wikimedia]