High radioactivity found in Japan nuclear workers

May 30, 2011

Two workers from Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have been contaminated by high levels of radioactive iodine, the operator said Monday, prompting fears over their long-term health.

The workers, reportedly men in their 30s and 40s, may have already been exposed to higher than the recently boosted official annual limit, Japanese media suggested.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said it had been measuring the internal exposure to radiation of all employees involved in emergency work at the Fukushima Daiichi plant crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Internal exposure occurs when people take into their bodies through tainted air or food and drink.

The company notified the governmental atomic energy agency of the possible problem and the agency confirmed that "the thyroid glands of two male employees showed high levels of radiation (iodine-131)", TEPCO said in a statement.

The Jiji Press news agency said the two workers had stopped working at the plant and were not sick at the moment. They will undergo further check-ups.

The inspection by the government agency found 9,760 and 7,690 becquerels of in the thyroid glands of the workers, 10 times higher than other workers at Fukushima, reports said.

The two men were working at a variety of locations at Fukushima Daiichi, including the central control room, in March and April, including on March 11 and during the following days.

The tests sparked fears that their had been several hundred millisieverts, Jiji said.

A few days after the disaster, the government boosted the annual limit of radiation exposure for emergency workers to 250 millisieverts from 100 as the nation battled the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.

No workers have been confirmed to have been exposed radiation higher than the annual limit since the disaster.

is known to accumulate in the .

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User comments : 1

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Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
So far the world has had about 25,000 reactor years experience dealing with nuclear power, and in that time there have been 4 core melts and one core explosion.

A world powered exclusively with nuclear energy will require the construction of 200,000 reactors.

With such a reactor count the world will accumulate 8 times as many reactor years as have been accumulated so far.

So every year with 200,000 reactors in operation, we can expect 8 core explosions and 32 core melts.

Good luck with that.

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