(Mainichi Japan) October 22, 2011
Journalists keep close eye on Fukushima nuclear worker radiation exposure (Part 3)

The wide perception gap that has surfaced between Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the government and other parties has raised serious questions about the management of plant workers’ radiation exposure.

Shortly after the plant was stricken with meltdowns and hydrogen explosions in March, Mainichi reporters, mainly those with the Tokyo City News Department, began interviewing workers struggling to bring the crippled facility under control.

Most of the workers are from Fukushima Prefecture, and many of them commute to the plant from shelters or dorms where they were taking refuge after their homes were badly damaged in March 11’s natural disasters.

A 30-year-old worker for a sub-subcontractor said he had been told by an employee of the subcontractor, “We won’t write down the amount of radiation you were exposed to during the latest work on your radiation management record. You don’t have to worry about it.”

Radiation exposure amounts and the results of regular medical exams are supposed to be stated clearly on each worker’s radiation management record.

If workers suffer from cancer in the future, there will be no proof of the causal relationship between their radiation exposure and the disease unless such data is included in their radiation management records, making them ineligible for workers’ accident compensation benefits.

Further interviews with the utility, the government organizations concerned including the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, and other parties have revealed there was a wide perception gap among them over maximum exposure limits for workers.

Health ministry regulations stipulate that nuclear power station workers can be exposed to a maximum of 100 millisieverts over five years, and 50 millisieverts in a single year.

However, in the case of an emergency such as a nuclear accident, they can be exposed to up to 100 millisieverts during work to bring the plant under control.

In the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the ministry raised the upper limit to 250 millisieverts.

The ministry concluded that workers who are exposed to 100 to 250 millisieverts during efforts to tame the Fukushima nuclear crisis must be withdrawn from further work for five years on the grounds that the conventional regulations apply to the Fukushima crisis.

However, TEPCO was of the view that the conventional regulations do not apply to the work at the Fukushima plant, arguing that workers should not be deprived of employment for long periods.

Because of this, the subcontractor omitted the levels of radiation workers were exposed to from their radiation management records.

“In the end, we are the ones who are going to be left holding the bag,” a 28-year-old worker lamented in an interview with the Mainichi.

The Mainichi published an article about the omission of exposure data from the 30-year-old worker’s radiation management record on the front page of its April 21 morning edition.
「原発作業員 被ばく線量 管理手帳記載せず」との記事は4月21日朝刊の1面トップに掲載された。

It was subsequently learned that at least one TEPCO employee had been exposed to more than 250 millisieverts, prompting the ministry to step up its radiation management instructions to the utility.

There have been some cases of plant workers being exposed to excessive levels of radiation during their work because of sloppy management.

We are determined to continue to shed light on how workers’ radiation exposure is being handled in an effort to improve their working environment.

(By Satoshi Kusakabe, Takayuki Hakamada and Akiyo Ichikawa, Mainichi Shimbun)

毎日新聞 2011年10月18日 東京朝刊

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



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