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EMF Studies

30 October 2015

38% of Fukushima Evacuation Workers Exposed to Radiation Above Limit

© Mainichi Shimbun / Reuters

38 pct of Fukushima evacuation workers exposed to radiation above limit
xinhaunet.com, 26 October 2015

TOKYO, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government on Monday said 38 percent of evacuation-related first responders and those involved in decontamination and clean-up operations in the days following the 2011 multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility were exposed to radiation above the annual public limit.

According to a survey conducted by the Cabinet Office on just under 3,000 personnel involved in operations within the 20-km evacuation zone around the stricken plant from March 12, a day after a massive earthquake triggered a tsunami which breached the nuclear facility's barriers, causing the worst commercial nuclear disaster in history, 38 percent were found to have been exposed to radiation levels of 1 millisievert or more.

Of them, the survey revealed that 19 percent were exposed to between 1 to 2 millisieverts, while 5 percent from the sample were exposed to between 5 and 10 millisieverts.

The government report also showed that in the days following the multiple meltdowns at the plant situated on the northeast coast of Japan, 62 percent of those surveyed were exposed to radiation registering less than the 1 millisievert public limit.

The government said radiation levels dropped on March 18 to around 0.1 millisievert, but had spiked on the 15th of the month following a hydrogen explosion at the plant's third reactor building.

The radiation exposure figures come as Japan green lit plans earlier Monday to bring a third nuclear reactor back online, as Japan's Fukushima-induced two-year nuclear power hiatus comes to an end.

The government wants to ensure that were a similar accident to occur again, those involved in rescue operations are exposed to the minimum amount of radiation in the process of saving others.

For civilians involved in such rescue operations, an exposure level of 1 millisievert has been floated as the limit. This compares with current limits of 100 millisieverts over five years for workers at a nuclear plant.

Further putting the subject of exposure to post-Fukushima radioactive materials under the spotlight again, more than four years after the multiple meltdown in Fukushima, Japan's health ministry last week confirmed the first case of cancer related to work undertaken by a construction worker at the Daiichi nuclear plant.

The health ministry here and the International Atomic Energy Agency had previously stated that they did not expect to find any noticeable health issues caused by exposure to radiation, although 10 similar cases to that of the construction worker who has received certification from the ministry for developing leukemia as a result of an industrial accident have been filed.

The worker, now in his early 40s, is the first to be able to receive benefits under the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance.

The ministry, however, has yet to unequivocally admit the claimant's leukemia being linked to his exposure to radiation during his work installing covers over damaged reactor buildings at the stricken plant to prevent more radioactive materials from spreading into the environment.

Editor: Hou Qiang
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-10/26/c_134752062.htm

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