UnNews:Wheelchair-bound grandmother rescued from Reactor No. 4

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25 March 2011

The miracle grandmother (left) shown catching up on the news after her enjoyable visit to the nuclear power plant. She is surprised at the attention Japan has gotten over the past several weeks, and wonders out loud to her companions (right) what all the fuss is about. (photo and caption courtesy of the Japan Ministry of Tourism)

TOKYO, Japan - An 86-year-old wheelchair-bound grandmother was rescued today after spending several weeks trapped in the core of Fukushima Reactor Number 4. "It's a miracle that I got out," said Niosomi Nuraswana, who was finally able to free herself when the pile of nuclear rods she was trapped beneath shifted during their meltdown.

Nuraswana washed up into the reactor during the March 11 tsunami while wheeling on the beach with her granddaughter, Timina, who was also rescued. "Timina had just bent down to retrieve a sand-dollar when suddenly I felt, rather than saw, myself picked up on a fast-moving wave," the elderly matriarch told CNN, "and before I knew it I was washed inside Fukushima Reactor No. 4, finally coming to rest beside the reactor's core."

She explained that although she and Timina could hear workers screaming outside the structure, none came in. "They knew we were there, they could hear us banging rods together to get their attention. But only one brave soul got close enough to hear our pleas for rescue. He was very nice, and before he passed-on he'd often toss over cheese sandwiches - although by the time they reached us they were grilled-cheese sandwiches," Nuraswana said.

Timina, 6, gave CNN's Anderson Cooper a first-hand account of the extent of the radioactive leakage in the reactor's core. "A neutron beam is now being emitted, indicating that the graphite beneath the core is melting as a prelude to a complete nuclear meltdown," she said. "The fuel rods, which have fused together, are now exposed to the air, as most of their coolant drained away quickly on that first day. The rest was totally lost when the reactor's hydrogen build-up exploded, destroying the containment structure and hurling hundreds of vaporized spent nuclear fuel rods, which were inexplicably stored atop the structure, thousands of feet into the air in a New York minute. I did my best to cool the rods that were left by spitting and urinating on them, but at most this was a short-term solution and in the end my fluids didn't do much good."

The doctor and coroner examined "Granny Glowworm" - as her countrymen now call her - and pronounced her "In the pink!"

Many in the west see Niosomi Nuraswana as a symbol of hope in a vast wasteland of no hope. "No, no, please stop it," she said when she heard that others were paying attention. "I did nothing, and my granddaughter even less. All we did was go on vacation, living high-off-the-hog within touching distance of the very best of Japan's engineering know-how," she said about the American-made Tepco nuclear reactor. "One day I will tell my great-grandchildren about my interesting experience, just as my mother told me of hers just before her unexplained death in 1945 near ground zero in Hiroshima. I feel very well, and look forward to my next adventure."

Timina, listening to the statement of the old woman, rolled her eyes and periodically checked her grandma's pulse for signs of death.

A day after emerging from the reactor, "Japan's miracle grandmother," as Niosomi Nuraswana is now being called, was taken to hospital for a complete physical exam as Timina waited patiently outside. Nuraswana was declared "Hunky dory" by Japan's interior minister before being released an hour later. "She is perfectly fine, there is no cause for alarm," said government spokesman Aikuso Gannawomplaki. "No radiation is emitting from the reactor or from Nuraswana's pre-corpse, and the radiation that is leaking is actually very healthy and can be used as a cleansing agent. Nothing to see here, all must go home now."

Nuraswana and Timina were welcomed back to the pile of tangled sticks and paper-mache that had once been their home by masked and radiation-suited aid workers, scavengers, and wandering reporters. "It held up better than I expected," Nuraswana said, picking up a piece of wood that she thinks may have once been her kitchen.


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This article features first-hand journalism by an UnNews correspondent.