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2,000 workers at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant face cancer risk

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Soumya, Jul 21, 2013.

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  1. Soumya

    Soumya Major STAR MEMBER

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    Tokyo: Around 2,000 people who have worked at Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant face a heightened risk of thyroid cancer, its operator said.

    Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said 1,973 people -- around 10 percent of those employed in emergency crews involved in the clean-up since the meltdowns - were believed to have been exposed to enough radiation to cause potential problems.

    The figure is a 10-fold increase on TEPCO's previous estimate of the number of possible thyroid cancer victims and comes after the utility was told its figures were too conservative.

    Each worker in this group was exposed to at least 100 millisieverts of radiation, projections show.

    Although little is known about the exact health effects of radiation on the human body, the level is considered by doctors to be a possible threshold for increased cancer risk.

    The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant became the site of the worst nuclear disaster in a generation after the massive tsunami of March 2011 destroyed its cooling systems.

    The plant's reactors went through meltdowns that caused explosions in the buildings housing them, spewing radioactive materials into the air, sea and soil.

    Tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes in a large area around the plant, where crews continue to clear debris and cool the reactors.

    The fragility of the wrecked plant was brought into sharp relief again Thursday with the discovery of steam in the roofless building around Reactor 3.

    TEPCO said it still did not know exactly where the steam was coming from, although readings showed it was no more radioactive than expected and suggested it could have been accumulated rainwater.

    The huge utility, which has faced frequent criticism for downplaying dangers and not being forthcoming about problems at the site, revised its method of estimating the level of radiation exposure among workers earlier this month.

    TEPCO reported to the World Health Organization in December that only 178 workers at the plant were believed to have received radiation doses to their thyroid glands above 100 millisieverts.

    Japan's health ministry voiced concern that the criteria the company used in its estimates of exposure for its own workers as well as for those employed by contractors were too narrow, and called on the utility to re-evaluate its methods.

    There were also errors in calculations and differences of interpretation.

    Not all of the approximately 20,000 workers have actually been tested. The numbers have been arrived at by extrapolating the results of tests that have been carried out.

    All 1,973 workers now deemed to be at increased risk of thyroid cancer are eligible for an annual thyroid checkup and other health services paid for by the company.

    TEPCO has already informed those affected about the health and monitoring programmes.

    Tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes by the threat of radiation in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, with many still unable to return.

    While the natural disaster claimed more than 18,000 lives, no one is officially recorded as having died as a direct result of the radiation released by the disaster.


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  2. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    Radioactive fallout's always result is some type of cancer. Brave people who put their lives at risk to save millions outside.
     
  3. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Radiation hazard at Fukushima-1 was raised to the third level on INES scale. The level means that radioactivity may spread, posing hazard to the environment. Moreover, it may affect personnel inside the nuclear power plant. Prior to that, Fukushima recorded the lowest possible level of risk.

    The level of contamination of water that flows into the Pacific Ocean waters is extremely high. A person, who stays near the contaminated water for an hour, receives a dose of radiation that exceeds the acceptable level of radiation that employees of nuclear power plants get in one year.

    In the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima, the number of cases of thyroid cancer has increased six times. Eighteen cases of the disease have been reported among minors. Experts intend to study each of the cases of cancer in detail to find out whether they were caused by radiation.

    In Fukushima, number of thyroid cancer cases grows six times - English pravda.ru
     
  4. Rock n Rolla

    Rock n Rolla Lt. Colonel STAR MEMBER

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    India bans food imports from Japan

    Is the ban on importing food items from Japan still active or was it lifted? can't find any sources.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  5. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Just as it becomes evident that the Fukushima nuclear energy plant is spewing massive amounts of radiation into the Pacific Ocean raising serious doubts about public health from Alaska to New Zealand, the mysterious death of hundreds of dolphins off the USA's East Coast indicates that all may not be well in the Atlantic.

    The cause of the hundreds of mysterious dolphin deaths off the East coast of the United States of America in recent weeks has been the subject of a major investigation since the beginning of August. To date, the conclusions are becoming startlingly ominous: while these deaths may be the result of a virus, there are indications that they are a telling sign that the Ocean has become polluted to a level where it is starting not to be able to sustain top-feeder life.

    The incidence is so severe that the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued an Unusual Mortality Event alert as seven times the normal number of dolphin carcasses are washed ashore. In Virginia, of the 164 dolphins found dead on its beaches, 78 cases have appeared in August. That makes a total of 228 dolphin deaths so far in January to August 2013, compared with 111 cases in 2012.

    Speculation into what has happened has centred on a virus - morbillivirus, which caused hundreds of dolphin deaths (to be exact, 740) back in 1987 - long enough ago for this new generation of dolphins not to have had any contact with it and so not being able to build antibodies. However, the autopsies reveal multi-organ system failure in these animals.

    Could this be due to suppressed immune systems already overloaded with a toxic environment in which the dolphins swim? The dolphins in question are mainly bottlenose dolphins, which are top-feeders, a higher order predator eating other smaller marine animals, so in a way what happens to the bottlenose is a mirror image of what is happening below the waters.

    What is particularly alarming is the high incidence of adult males and calves. The female can get rid of contaminants in her system through lactation, when the milk is passed to the calf. The male cannot do so, and there is a very high degree of contaminants present in many of the calves examined, a level described by some experts as "outrageous".

    The conclusions will be made in the laboratories but how long will it be before the signs are more than signals, and become irreversible symptoms that we have managed to destroy our habitat and that of our partners on this planet?

    Dolphin alert! - English pravda.ru
     
  6. Gessler

    Gessler BANNED BANNED

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    That's sad. Hoping and praying they remain healthy.
     
  7. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    1 person likes this.
  8. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    As elections are nearing in Japan, many of the people working toward the decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant say they want voters to know about their harsh working conditions, insufficient pay and worries of radiation exposure, reports The Japan Times.
    There are around 6,000 people a day working in the decommissioning process at the plant and it is expected to take 30 to 40 years to complete.

    “I’m single, so I can somehow manage with the pay if I don’t go out to amuse myself, but I don’t think you can make a living if you have a family,” said a man in his fifties who has worked in the plant for three years. He has been eradicating debris and setting up tanks to store radioactive water, and is now in charge of removing contaminated water from the reactor building basements. He works for a third-tier subcontractor and makes a monthly salary of less than ¥200,000 ($1650 USD).

    As The Japan Times reports, due to high radiation exposure, workers must wear heavy protective clothing and a mask that covers the whole face. It is difficult for them to work more than an hour and a half at a time. The workers start at around 5 a.m. because of the time it takes to get to the plant which is about 40 kilometers away, pass entrance checks and change clothing.

    According to one worker his most recent monthly radiation dosage was 1.8 millisieverts. The law states that a nuclear worker’s radiation dosage should not exceed 100 millisieverts in five years and 50 millisieverts in a year. Since the reference mark in the plant is 20 millisieverts a year, the man’s dosage is nearing its limit.

    “I feel that people are gradually forgetting about the nuclear accident,” he said. “From now, our work will become even harsher because we will have to go inside the reactor buildings, where the radiation level is even higher. I want people to recognize that there are such workplaces,” he told The Japan Times.

    Japanese Nation Forgetting Fukushima Plant Cleanup Workers / Sputnik International
     
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