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Bodies found of two nuclear plant workers missing since quake

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Japan's nuclear water problem
  • The two victims, both male, worked for Tokyo Electric and were in their 20s
  • Their bodies were found in the No. 4 reactor's turbine building, a utility official says
  • They had not been seen since the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami
  • Their remains were found Wednesday, but it wasn't announced until Sunday

Tokyo (CNN) -- The bodies of two Japanese nuclear power plant workers missing since the epic March 11 earthquake and tsunami have been found, an official with the plant's owner said Sunday.

The men's remains were found in the basement of the turbine building at the No. 4 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, an official with the Tokyo Electric Power Company told reporters Sunday.

The pair -- identified as Kazahiko Kokubo, 24, and Yoshiki Terashima, 21, both members of the utility company's operations management department -- were working in that building when the 9.0-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami struck. The disaster caused damage throughout northeastern Japan, including at the power plant, which is on the Asian nation's eastern coast about 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

One of the workers was found floating in a pool of water in the basement, the utilty company official said. Both appeared to have suffered multiple traumatic injuries and severe blood loss.

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The bodies were found Wednesday, but the power company did not disclose the news until late Sunday morning.

Tokyo Electric officials explained the information was delayed in getting out because it took time to notify victims' families and discuss how to announce the news.

Company Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata offered condolences for "the loss of two valuable lives."

"It is deeply regrettable that we lose two employees who were trying to protect the safety of the power plant from the earthquake and tsunami," he said in a statement.

Later, Katsumata reiterated Tokyo Electric's vow that every effort is being made to address the crisis at the nuclear plant and this such a situation will never happen again.

"We swear never to repeat this tragedy," he said, "and we making a full effort to resolve the situation as soon as possible."

Susan Olson and Yuki Arakawa contributed to this report for CNN.

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