The Asahi Shimbun reported yesterday that a Fukushima plant worker who developed thyroid cancer is eligible for compensation:
YURI OIWA (2016, December 17). Thyroid cancer compensation for Fukushima plant worker The Asahi Shimbun, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201612170027.htmlWorkers at the critical Fukushima plant have been treated as disposable. Many workers claimed they were not told they would be working at the plant when hired. They did not receive dosimeters to monitor their radiation exposure during the early weeks of the crisis.[i]
A man who developed thyroid gland cancer after working at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has for the first time won the right to work-related compensation.
While the case ranks as the third time a worker at the Fukushima plant has been recognized as eligible for work-related compensation because of cancer caused by radiation exposure, it is the first instance involving thyroid gland cancer....
The amount of his accumulated whole body radiation exposure was 150 millisieverts, with about 140 millisieverts resulting from the period after the nuclear accident. Of that amount, about 40 millisieverts was through internal exposure caused by inhaling or other ways of absorbing radioactive materials...
...There is also an estimate that more than 2,000 workers have radiation doses exceeding 100 millisieverts just in their thyroid gland.
The command center used by workers during cleanup was subsequently revealed to be contaminated, potentially causing thousands of workers to ingest radioactive particles. Testing of workers found hundreds were contaminated. A worker waded into radioactive water and was burned because he was not wearing appropriate protection.
Workers were not required to wear waterproof ponchos when it rained, although rainwater is known to wash out radioactive contamination in the air. Ilya Perlingieri described these workers as expendable in her essay “No Protection for Fukushima’s Expendable Citizens or Us.”
On March 14, the Japanese industry of Health and Labor raised "the maximum [radiation] dose for workers to 250 mSv [milli Sieverts] a year" an increase in exposure from the previous 100 mSv.(7) These new figures are also drastically higher than those from the International Commission on Radiological Protection's guidelines stipulating a maximum of 20 mSv a year."[ii]
The Japanese news agency Mainichi reported on June 22, 2011 that the whereabouts of 30 Fukushima plant workers were unknown: "The workers' names were listed in records showing that they had been loaned dosimeters, but when the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), contacted the companies they were associated with, the companies replied that there was no record of those workers.[iii] By August of 2011, TEPCO was reporting that the whereabouts of 143 workers was unknown.[iv]
[i] Phred Dvorak “Japanese Nuclear Cleanup Workers Detail Lax Safety Practices at Plant,” The Wall Street Journal (2011, June 14): A1, A12.
[ii] Ilya Perlingieri “No Protection For Fukushima's 'Expendable' Citizens Or Us,” Jeff Rense (2011, May 4): http://www.rense.com/general94/noprot.htm.
[iii] "Whereabouts of 30 Nuclear Power Plant Subcontractors Unknown: Health Ministry" Mainichi (2011, June 21): http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110621p2a00m0na005000c.html.
[iv] “TEPCO Says It Has Lost Contact with 143 Nuclear Plant Workers,” Japan Today (2011, August 10): http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/tepco-says-it-has-lost-contact-with-143-nuclear-plant-workers