Houston contract worker trapped in Japan waits for safe return

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Jeremy Desel / 11 News

Posted on March 12, 2011 at 1:22 AM

Updated Saturday, Mar 12 at 2:36 PM

HOUSTON  --  A technician employed by a Houston-based company was working at a plant north of Tokyo when disaster struck and now he's waiting to be rescued.

He was supposed to come back to Houston Saturday.

More than a hundred aftershocks were still rattling Japan Friday evening.

Danny Eudy felt it all first hand.  Janie Eudy said she finally heard from her husband several hours after the quake.

“The lights were falling, the insulation from the ceiling, the air pipes, everything started falling. Just piles of debris just falling down," she said.

Eudy is a contract worker for Pasadena-based Atlantic Plant Maintenance.
No one at the company responded to our interview requests Friday, but the company is a sub-contractor for GE-Hitachi at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in Japan.

We have confirmed that four contractors from the company are there, a part of 30 Americans from three companies.

There are six different nuclear reactors on that site. Eudy and his crew were working on a unit shut down for maintenance.

"They were evacuated. They have all been accounted for and all are safe. They are standing by nearby at a hotel or out of the area," said Michael Tetuan, a GE-Hitachi spokesman.

Japan's nuclear reactors are the most advanced in the world and experts say that should help protect both the workers and the environment.

"I think that the risk is mostly the physical risk. I think that the risk of radiation exposure is really low, and if those people are the pros they have to be in that position. They monitor it all the time and they know exactly what the risks are," said Dr. Jim Cox, a radiation specialist at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

GE says it is now focused on helping to solve the on-going crisis at the plant and getting the American contractors out of Japan.

Janie Eudy is focused on that too and said she is thankful.

"His feet were cut and that is what slowed him down. That's what he said was my lucky point.  It slowed me down. He said, or otherwise I would have been a little faster I would have been in the Tsunami and washed out to sea," she said.

The experts said the key to keeping the nuclear plants in jeopardy from melting down are generators. Without power, there is nothing to cool the water that keeps the nuclear fuel cool. When temperatures rise, that is when the trouble starts.

So far there are two nuclear plants that are being watched closely. There are 11 of them in the earthquake zone.

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