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news oct 22

news oct 22

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Journalists keep close eye on Fukushima nuclear workerradiation exposure (Part 3)
The wide perception gap that has surfaced between Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of thetsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the government and other parties has raised seriousquestions about the management of plant workers' radiation exposure.Shortly after the plant was stricken with meltdowns and hydrogen explosions in March, Mainichireporters, mainly those with the Tokyo City News Department, began interviewing workersstruggling to bring the crippled facility under control.Most of the workers are from Fukushima Prefecture, and many of them commute to the plant fromshelters or dorms where they were taking refuge after their homes were badly damaged in March11's natural disasters.A 30-year-old worker for a sub-subcontractor said he had been told by an employee of thesubcontractor, "We won't write down the amount of radiation you were exposed to during the latestwork 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 statedclearly 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 diseaseunless 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 amongthem over maximum exposure limits for workers.Health ministry regulations stipulate that nuclear power station workers can be exposed to amaximum of 100 millisieverts over five years, and 50 millisieverts in a single year. However, in thecase of an emergency such as a nuclear accident, they can be exposed to up to 100 millisievertsduring work to bring the plant under control. In the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the ministry raised theupper limit to 250 millisieverts.The ministry concluded that workers who are exposed to 100 to 250 millisieverts during efforts totame the Fukushima nuclear crisis must be withdrawn from further work for five years on thegrounds that the conventional regulations apply to the Fukushima crisis.However, TEPCO was of the view that the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 theFukushima 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 fromtheir 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-oldworker's radiation management record on the front page of its April 21 morning edition.It was subsequently learned that at least one TEPCO employee had been exposed to more than 250millisieverts, 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 duringtheir work because of sloppy management. We are determined to continue to shed light on howworkers' radiation exposure is being handled in an effort to improve their working environment. (BySatoshi Kusakabe, Takayuki Hakamada and Akiyo Ichikawa, Mainichi Shimbun)
 
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Fukushima power plant video shows progress
Tokyo Electric Power Company has released new footage of the damaged Fukushima Daiichinuclear power plant. It reveals the progress made over the 7 months since the March 11th disaster.The video taken on October 12th by TEPCO workers shows roads that have been cleared of debrisand a makeshift levee constructed along the coast.On the west side of the compound, holding tanks have been set up to store salt water left over fromthe process of treating highly radioactive wastewater in the reactors. Each tank can hold 100thousand liters.However, in areas around the No. 3 and 4 reactors, buildings are still left with collapsed walls and broken windows.TEPCO explained that there were not many workers seen in the footage because it was taken duringlunch break. The operator says that on weekdays 3,000 workers are employed at the facility.Sunday, October 23, 2011 05:41 +0900 (JST)
City assembly members find radiation hotspot in Chiba, call for better monitoring
MATSUDO, Chiba -- City assembly members checking local radiation levels have revealed theydiscovered a hotspot emitting 7.0 microsieverts per hour near a greenhouse here.The assembly members from the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) added, however, that they willnot reveal the exact location of the 7.0 microsievert hotspot or how the city has dealt with it for fear of harmful rumors.A government map displaying radiation levels in 10 prefectures relatively close to the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. Areas in red show over 3 million becquerels of cesium per squaremeter, whereas those in light brown show less than 10,000. (Data as of Sept. 18. Image courtesy of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)The group furthermore said on Oct. 20 that they recorded hourly radiation levels of more than 1microsievert at 37 out of 144 locations they checked, including parks, private houses and day-carecenters. The group said it monitored radiation levels at a maximum of 25 points per location fromSept. 7 through Oct. 17. About 1,830 people joined the JCP group in monitoring radiation levels 5centimeters above ground."We were surprised to find extremely high radiation levels at places which were consideredrelatively safe. More detailed radiation checks are necessary," the JCP group stated.Among parks checked by the group, a sandbox in the city's Nishinoshita Park registered a radiationlevel of about 3.42 microsieverts per hour, prompting city officials to conduct decontaminationwork to reduce the level to 0.3 microsieverts. The city has double-checked locations which wereinitially monitored only by residents, and carried out emergency decontamination measures at about
 
10 locations.Click here for the original Japanese story(Mainichi Japan) October 21, 2011
東日本大震災:福島第1原発事故 千葉・松戸で7マイクロシーベルト 共産市議団測定千葉県松戸市の共産党市議団は20日、同市内の公園、民家、保育園など144カ所での空間放射線量の測定結果を発表した。1カ所あたり最大25地 点で測定し、農業用ビニールハウスそばで記録した毎時約7・0マイクロシーベルトが最高。37カ所で同1マイクロシーベルト以上の地点があった。調査には市民ら約1830人が参加し、先月7日から今月17日、各地点の地上5センチで計測。同市議団は同約7・0マイクロシーベルトを記録した 場所については「風評被害の恐れがあり、場所やその後の対応も答えられない」と話している。公園での最高値は西ノ下公園(同市西馬橋幸町)砂場の同約3・ 42マイクロシーベルトで、連絡を受けた市が除染し、同0・3マイクロシーベルトに低下した。同市はこれまでも、市民が独自に測定した地点で再測定するなどし、既に約10カ所で緊急除染を実施。今後も、公園などでより詳細な調査を進める。砂場など特定の場所で局所的に高い汚染が確認される傾向が強く、同市議団は「比較的安全と考えられていた場所で突出した数値が出て驚いている。より細やかな調査が急務だ」と話している。【橋口正】毎日新聞
2011
10
21
日 東京朝刊
Chiba Pref. city finds major radioactive hot spot on publicland
 
Kashiwa Municipal Government workers take radiation measurements at a site on city land whereemissions of 57.5 microsieverts per hour have been detected. (Mainichi)KASHIWA, Chiba -- Officials here announced Oct. 21 the city government has discovered a hotspot emitting extremely high radiation of 57.5 microsieverts per hour on a plot of public land in aresidential district.The new hot spot was found within a radius of just one meter. Radiation levels in Kashiwa and itsvicinity are relatively high because of the effects of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis, but thelatest discovery of such an intense hot spot in the city's Nedokoyadai district came as a surprise.City radiation task force chief Seiichi Someya speculates, "It's hard to imagine that it is due toeffects" of the Fukushima crisis.The city purchased land in the district from the Finance Ministry in around 1957 and built 30houses, before gradually demolishing them and clearing the land. At one time, the local community

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