Masao Yoshida: Nuclear engineer who fought the tsunami meltdowns
Wednesday 10 July 2013
Masao Yoshida, who led the life-risking battle at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant when it was spiralling into meltdown following the 2011 tsunami, died yesterday of cancer of the oesophagus at the age of 58. Officials at the Tokyo Electric Power Company said his illness was unrelated to radioactive exposure.
Yoshida led efforts to stabilise the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant after the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami knocking out its power and cooling systems, causing triple meltdowns and massive radiation leaks. "There were several instances when I thought we were all going to die here," he later recalled.
Yoshida, an outspoken, tall man with a loud voice who wasn't afraid of talking back to higher-ups, was also known as a caring figure to his workers. Even then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was extremely frustrated by Tepco's's initial lack of information and slow handling, said after meeting him that Yoshida could be trusted.
On 12 March, after Unit 1 reactor building exploded following a meltdown, Yoshida kept pumping in sea water into the reactor to cool it, ignoring an order from the Tepco HQ headquarters to stop doing so.
He was initially reprimanded but later praised for his judgment. Kunio Yanagida, a former member of a government-commissioned accident probe panel who interviewed Yoshida for 10 hours, said his death is a major loss for future investigations into the disaster at the plant, which has not yet been fully examined due to high levels of radiation.
Yoshida studied nuclear engineering at Tokyo Institute of Technology and joined Tepco in 1979. He stepped down as plant chief Fukushima in December 2011, citing his cancer, after workers had begun to bring it under control.
Masao Yoshida, nuclear engineer: born Osaka 17 February 1955; died 9 July 2013.
- 1 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
One spelling error costs Companies House up to £9 million after being sued for ruining business
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...