1299324180211Or would it be more correct to call them the precarious 50? Since the start of the “nuclear crisis” in Japan, it has been extraordinary for me to see how firefighters, the army, and mostly, plant workers risked their lives to control the serious situation at the plant and avoid, if possible, an even worse situation. He imagined that being highly-skilled workers, they were aware of the toll that such work could entail for their health and even for the health of their future descendants. I could not think of another explanation that did not involve a very high degree of patriotism and collective responsibility.

However, this reason does not quite convince me. I can’t imagine the Japanese of today’s society practicing harakiri or launching themselves against Fukushima’s gamma rays like authentic kamikazes after the Japanese government doubled the permissible exposure limits to radiation. After the general media echoed these heroes in a very sensational and unprofessional way, new information is now coming to light that no longer talks about heroes but about workers in precarious contract conditions and popularly known as “gypsies of the atom”. I mean, no heroes or anything. Simply workers from the main poor neighborhoods of the country who, driven by necessity, accept very dangerous jobs and at any price. And apparently there are not 50 but tens of thousands throughout Japan.

Something similar occurs with militarism. A very unattractive “job” for most mortals. It is well known that in the US recruitment is carried out mainly in neighborhoods with a black majority and Central-South Americans. And without going any further, the Spanish army integrates into its ranks many Ecuadorians who have seen in the army a lesser evil to “get ahead.”

I am not trying to make an argument against nuclear power itself. I suppose that job insecurity today is a cancer that exists in most sectors. What is surprising is that it can exist in such a general way in a sector as specialized as the nuclear energy sector and in the third largest economy in the world. I wonder what is the situation of nuclear energy workers in other countries? By the way, in Spain we find something similar when we hear people who live in towns near a nuclear power plant when they say that they live better with the power plant because now they have a library or a new road.