(TOKYO) -- Yasuteru Yamada cringes at any comparison to the kamikaze pilots who flew suicide missions during World War II.
The retired engineer has rallied more than 200 aging workers who have volunteered to tackle the nuclear crises at Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant. But he says, this is no suicide mission.
"We don't want to die," says the 72-year old, a former engineer for Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. "We just want to stabilize the nuclear plant, nothing more."
The team of volunteers call themselves the Skilled Veteran Corps. The group is made up of former engineers, doctors, cooks and even singers. The common thread is that they are all over the age of 60.
Yamada says he decided to establish the group shortly after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami shut down cooling systems at Fukushima's reactors in March, triggering the world's worst nuclear crises since Chernobyl. Yamada watched on television, as younger workers dressed in hazmat suits, braved radiation fears to bring the damaged reactors under control.
Nearly three months after the accident, the reactors continue to spew radiation into the air, while contaminated water leaks into the ocean.
Yamada worries about the health of current Fukushima workers, and says the nuclear burden should be tasked to an older generation that has "consciously or unconsciously" supported the plant, and reaped the benefits of the electricity it's generated. He often jokes that he has just 15 years to live, not long enough for cancer -- a common side-effect of radiation exposure -- to develop.
The Skilled Veteran Corps's cause, has piqued the interest of plant operator Tokyo Electric, commonly known as TEPCO, and Japanese politicians. In talks with TEPCO, Yamada says the utility has expressed enthusiasm in teaming up, though neither has a "concrete idea on how we can work together."
The need for workers is expected to increase. TEPCO has already said the company is unlikely to meet its self-imposed deadline of bringing the reactors to a cold-shutdown by the end of the year.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio