The technicians had for days to restore electricity to the remains of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. But then it was ordinary rubber boots, of all things, that would come to symbolize their desperation, helplessness and defeat.
On Thursday, the three men had made their way into the basement of the turbine building for reactor No. 3 to examine the situation there. When they returned later, they came fully equipped with tools and protective gear that included helmets, masks, rubber gloves and raincoats on top of their radiation suits.