–The Asahi Shimbun, March 26
EDITORIAL: Safety of workers fighting the nuclear crisis must be ensured

Safety must be ensured for the workers on the front line of the battle to contain the nuclear crisis triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Three workers trying to cool a reactor at the quake-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were exposed to high levels of radioactivity and rushed to a hospital.

They worked while they were ankle deep in highly radioactive water. Two of them are feared to have suffered radiation burns below their knees.

The Nos. 1 — 4 reactors at the Fukushima plant are still in dangerous and volatile conditions. It is imperative to restore the cooling systems for these reactors and their spent fuel pools to stabilize the situation.

To achieve that goal, a mountain of tasks must be carried out in areas contaminated with high levels of radioactivity.

Completing the mission will take at least a month, according to one estimate. This is going to be a long, drawn-out battle.

People from various companies and organizations are working at the crippled plant, tackling a broad array of tasks according to their skills and expertise.

To get the reactors under control, a system needs to be established to limit the risks for these workers.

The three workers were trying to connect cables in the basement of the building housing a turbine for power generation adjacent to the building containing the No. 3 reactor. According to the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., two of them entered the facility wearing ordinary work shoes because there had been nothing more than puddles of water with low levels of radioactivity on the floor on the previous day.

Their feet were exposed to 2 to 6 sieverts of radioactivity, far above the safety limit of 1 sievert for skin exposure to radiation during such emergency work.

The workers’ dosemeters attached to the upper body part of their outfits showed radiation amounts totaling about 180 millisieverts, close to the upper limit of 250.

The water in the basement was found to contain 10,000 times the level of radioactivity normally detected in cooling water circulating within a reactor. The figure clearly indicates the seriousness of the situation. In addition, the conditions change constantly.

The harshness and dangerousness of the working conditions at the sites is shocking, which makes it all the more depressing to know that efforts to restore safety to the plant depend on people working under these conditions.

What is disturbing is the fact that there was no person to monitor the levels of radioactivity at the site when the three workers were doing their jobs.

Workers engaged in tasks in an area with high radiation levels must take turns at short intervals for the sake of their health.

Monitoring of the radiation levels at such worksites must never be neglected.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. should make every possible effort to ensure the safety of workers.

It is crucial to secure enough manpower to staff the teams required to carry out the tasks involved over an extended period of time until the nuclear power plant is stabilized.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has an important role to play in this respect.

The government needs to obtain maximum assistance and cooperation from various organizations, including reinforcements from other electric power companies and manufacturers.

Some 700 employees of TEPCO and affiliated companies are currently working at the Fukushima power station. Many of them come from local communities in the quake-hit areas. Some of them have had their houses swept away by the tsunami, while others are worried about missing family members. They are reportedly close to their limits of exhaustion.

Some of them can only get one or two hours of sleep in a chair a day.

A system should be created swiftly to ensure that the people engaged in the heroic efforts to defuse this national crisis will receive all the possible support from both the government and the private sector, including from the nuclear power industry, nuclear safety experts and medical institutions.

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: Uncategorized パーマリンク



WordPress.com ロゴ

WordPress.com アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト /  変更 )

Google フォト

Google アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト /  変更 )

Twitter 画像

Twitter アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト /  変更 )

Facebook の写真

Facebook アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト /  変更 )

%s と連携中

このサイトはスパムを低減するために Akismet を使っています。コメントデータの処理方法の詳細はこちらをご覧ください