Handout photo from Tokyo Electric Power Co. shows worker attempting to repair power lines at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power. (Kyodo/Reuters)

A small crew of technicians, braving radiation and fire, became the only people remaining at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on Tuesday — and perhaps Japan’s last chance of preventing a broader nuclear catastrophe.

News broke on Thursday that three of the operators were exposed to high levels of radiation, and two were injured. So far, a more than two dozen people have been injured while working to contain the plant.

Elsewhere, another Japanese man has been receiving accolades for his heroism following the earthquake. When Hideaki Akaiwa could not find his wife or his mother following the tsunami, he donned a wet suit and swam through the murky waters that had flooded his neighborhood. Mark Maginer of the L.A. Times wrote Akaiwa is “a virtual live-action hero:”

Not willing to wait until the government or any international organization did, or did not, arrive to rescue his wife of two decades — whom he had met while they were surfing in a local bay — Akaiwa got hold of some scuba gear. He then hit the water, wended his way through the debris and underwater hazards and managed to reach his house, from which he dragged his wife to safety.

Two days later he made a similar search for his mother who he found trapped on the second-floor of a building surrounded by high waters.

Here are more images of the Fukushima 50:


Medical workers in protective gear gather around an ambulance which arrived at a hospital in Fukushima City, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, carrying two workers from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after they stepped into contaminated water while laying electrical cables in one unit. (Jun Yasukawa/AP)