the cosmonaut will die

As low-level employees crawl through waves of radiation, the execs and shareholders escape as usual. What would be different if our class system required personal consequences?

They are contract workers getting about 9,000 yen per day [$13.90 per hour]. They move from one nuclear plant to other in medium term contracts. They had probably looked upon assignment to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant as another routine job.

The 180 workers deployed in 2-hour shifts to get control over truant radioactivity in Fukushima’s 6 nuclear reactors have been battling for a week.

Combined with their previous work, they may well have become exposed to high radiation by now. Five have died so far from explosions, two are missing and 22 have been injured.

There are times when radiation soars, as on Tuesday, and the workers retreat into safe zones. Then they are back again.

The story begins around 1967, when Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union, decided to stage a spectacular midspace rendezvous between two Soviet spaceships.

It would be, Brezhnev hoped, a Soviet triumph on the 50th anniversary of the Communist revolution. Brezhnev made it very clear he wanted this to happen.

Senior technicians had inspected the Soyuz 1 and had found 203 structural problems — serious problems that would make this machine dangerous to navigate in space.