20 Octobre 2015
October 20, 2015
By YURI OIWA/ Staff Writer
Acknowledging a link between leukemia and exposure to radiation from the nuclear accident, the health ministry has awarded workers' compensation to a former worker at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant for the first time.
The recipient is a 41-year-old resident of Kita-Kyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture, who formerly worked for Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s partner company, and was engaged in construction and welding operations near the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of the crippled Fukushima plant between 2012 and 2013.
In January 2014, the worker was diagnosed as suffering from acute myelogenous leukemia. While he had been exposed to 16 millisieverts of radiation at the Fukushima facility by that time, he also received a dose of 4 millisieverts during a three-month periodic inspection of the Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai plant in 2012.
At the worker’s request, the Labor Standards Inspection Office examined the extent of his radiation exposure and work records. It concluded the state should pay compensation insurance for his temporary disability and medical expenses, after consulting an expert panel of the health ministry about the issue.
According to government insurance standards for nuclear industry workers introduced in 1976, the government pays workers' compensation to those who are exposed to 5 millisieverts or higher levels of radiation annually and develop leukemia more than a year after they first engaged in work that could expose them to radiation.
In those cases, workers are eligible for insurance payments unless they are exposed to viruses and other factors that could cause leukemia.
The health ministry said eight people who have worked at the Fukushima plant since the 2011 accident have applied for workers' compensation after developing diseases that are said to be associated with radiation exposure.
In three of the eight cases, applicants were not granted compensation, while one worker later withdrew the application. The remaining three are now under consideration, and details of their applications have not been disclosed.
According to TEPCO, 21,000 of the 45,000 people who have worked at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant since the disaster had been exposed to more than 5 millisieverts of radiation by the end of August. More than 9,000 workers have received a dose of 20 millisieverts or more, TEPCO said.
It is therefore expected that the number of applications for workers’ compensation related to the Fukushima disaster will surge in the near future.
MHLW (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare) officially recognized a former Fukushima worker’s leukemia to be caused by Fukushima accident. This is their first time to admit the connection between health effect and Fukushima accident.
This is a male nuclear worker (41), who was a subcontract worker of Tepco. He was involved in welding and construction near Reactor 3 and 4 in crippled Fukushima plant. The reported integral exposure dose was 16 mSv from 2012 to 2013, and he was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in January of 2014.
The investigation committee of MHLW to consist of experts admitted the relationship with radioactive exposure from medical viewpoints.