Steelworkers Union Praises Workers at Fukushima Daiichi Plant

International President Leo W. Gerard issued a statement calling the workers heroes for their efforts to contain the emergency at the damaged nuclear power plant in Japan.

United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard praised the workers who have done their utmost to control the emergency at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan, calling them heroes. Japanese authorities announced March 22 that power had been restored to the plant's reactors, raising hopes that their cooling systems will be back in operation soon.

Gerard's statement said the union "honors the brave Japanese men and women who are toiling day and night to cool down the reactors and spent nuclear fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. They are risking their lives to prevent the meltdown of the reactors and fuel rods so millions of people do not die from the effects of radiation exposure.

"We know the dangers these workers are facing because the USW represents several thousand workers in the Department of Energy complex. We are concerned about the safety of these workers and know they are heroically putting themselves at risk. The workers' selfless devotion to their country and the safety of millions of their countrymen is to be admired, respected and honored. These Fukushima Daiichi nuclear workers are heroes."

U.S. authorities, especially those located on the West Coast, such as the Oregon Health Authority's Public Health Division, continue to monitor radiation levels in the air and maintain ambient levels are safe.

The crisis at the plant and high radiation readings in its vicinity after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami near Japan's northeastern coast have some Americans wondering whether dying from radiation poisoning would be covered by typical life insurance policies. Insurance experts say it would.

"The standard U.S. life insurance policy covers death by any cause at any time in any place, except for suicide within the first two policy years in most states or one year in some states," said Phil Young, life insurance policy analyst for Life Quotes Inc. "So, yes, death by direct radiation poisoning or death by an eventual cancer or other radiation complication would be covered by the typical comprehensive life insurance policy.

"In our experience, interest in life insurance always shoots up whenever there is a natural or man-made catastrophe in the news as is the case right now. Life insurance prices have also just dropped to all-time lows, which makes this an ideal time to shop rates and review your coverage. We recommend that each family breadwinner carry no less than 10 times their annual income and we recommend $300,000 for non-working caregivers or parents."

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