13 Août 2013
August 13, 2013
A mist-generating machine designed to prevent heatstroke apparently sprayed radioactive substances onto the heads and faces of 10 workers at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the plant’s operator said.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Aug. 12 that unusually high radioactivity levels--up to five times the company’s self-imposed safety standard--were detected on the 10 employees, but they showed no immediate signs of illness.
The 10 male employees, in their 20s to 50s, were working in a quake-proof building at the site and were likely exposed to the radioactive substances from the mist generator installed in front of the building, according to TEPCO.
TEPCO checked the purifying facility that supplies water for the mist generator, but no radioactive contamination was found. The company said the water might have become contaminated when it ran through the pipes.
All workers who enter and leave the plant’s premises are checked for radiation exposure at a building on the site. Radioactivity levels of up to 19 becquerels per square centimeter were detected among the 10 employees when they were tested at 12:40 p.m. on Aug. 12.
Internal exposure was not found when the workers were later checked by a whole body counter, according to TEPCO.
TEPCO plans to conduct a more detailed investigation into the cause of the workers’ high radioactivity levels.
By RYUTA KOIKE/ Staff Writer