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Only 35% of Fukushima Daiichi workers tested


March 6, 2018
NHK has learned that only 35 percent of workers who responded to the March 2011 nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi plant have been checked for long-term effects of radiation.
A Japanese government-affiliated research organization began conducting the radiation-exposure screenings 4 years ago. Some 20,000 workers who entered the plant within 9 months of the accident are to undergo life-long monitoring that includes blood tests and thyroid exams.
During the nuclear crisis, many plant workers were exposed to radiation beyond the government limit of 100 millisieverts. The government then temporarily raised the limit to 250 millisieverts so that work could continue.
The Radiation Effects Research Foundation aims to conduct regular screenings on at least 80 percent of those workers. But it says that as of January this year, it has only been able to check about 7,000 people.
Of the workers who remain untested, 35 percent have ignored calls to take a screening, 17 percent have refused to comply, and 8.5 percent cannot be reached.
Several non-participants have told NHK they cannot take days off from work, or that there are too few clinics where they can be tested.
Some were skeptical about the screenings, saying they doubt a checkup would help keep them healthy.
Tomotaka Sobue, a professor at Osaka University, was a member of a government panel that assessed the screening program.
He says the government has a responsibility to confirm whether people who took part in emergency work are facing any health risks.
He says efforts must be made to inform workers about the program, and to make it easier for them to take the tests.

March 7, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Less protective gear at Fukushima Daiichi

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant plans to make it easier for workers engaged in decommissioning efforts nearly 5 years after the accident. They will gradually be able to work without wearing protective gear or gloves in areas with low radiation.

NHK has learned that Tokyo Electric Power Company is to introduce the new measure early next month for about 90 percent of the facility.

Radiation readings near the ground in these areas were 5 microsieverts per hour or less as of December. The figures went down after the operator removed contaminated soil and paved the surface.

TEPCO will increase in stages the number of workers wearing only regular work clothing.

The utility now requires each worker to wear protective gear and 2 pairs of gloves. This is preventing them from moving around smoothly and from carrying out precision work.

The policy will continue for people working near the reactor buildings and around tanks that contain highly radioactive water.

TEPCO plans to notify workers and tighten controls so that they do not approach these areas without wearing protective gear.

February 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment