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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Radiation data for Fukushima Daiichi workers

Radiation data shows elevated cancer risk for dozens of Fukushima workers




December 07, 2012


Radiation doses that raise the risk of cancer have been recorded in dozens of workers--or about 1 percent of the work force--at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Dec. 6 released data for radiation doses recorded between March 11, 2011, when the disaster started, and Jan. 31, 2012.

The figures show 165 workers, or about 1 percent of those monitored, received doses of at least 100 millisieverts, a level widely believed to raise the risk of cancer over a person's lifetime.

TEPCO released the data after submitting it in March, upon request, to the World Health Organization. It was the company's first direct release of such data, although it has shared other data with the WHO, which the agency plans to release shortly.

The data contained no personal details, nor did it identify the duties of the workers concerned. It presented figures grouped according to age category.

Twenty-five individuals in their 20s received more than 100 millisieverts, or 1.2 percent of the 2,057 workers in that category; so too did 40 of 4,179 individuals aged 30-39. The threshold was reached in 49 workers of 5,893 in their 40s; by 46 individuals in their 50s, out of 5,409; and five aged 60-69, of whom there were 1,858 workers.

None of the 64 teenage workers employed at the plant, and none of the 26 in their 70s and 80s, were exposed to more than 100 millisieverts of radiation.

But the data shows that three workers in their 20s received an elevated dose of more than 250 millisieverts, together with one person each in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

Younger adults are more susceptible to injurious effects of radiation. A forthcoming WHO report says the risk of developing radiation-induced cancer over a person's lifetime is 1.5 times greater for a 20-year-old than a 40-year-old. It is three times greater than for a 60-year-old. Furthermore, a 20-year-old's risk of thyroid cancer is four times that of a 40-year-old's.



TEPCO releases radiation exposure by age groups



Tokyo Electric Power Company says a teenage worker at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was exposed to radiation levels at least 50 times higher than Japan's maximum permissible dose for the general public.

The annual maximum radiation exposure limit for the public is set at one millisievert.

The utility company disclosed data on Thursday that it submitted to the World Health Organization in March. The data includes details of the radiation doses that workers were exposed to at the plant.

A total of 20,103 workers took part in post-disaster operations between March 2011 and the end of January this year.

The youngest was aged 18 while the oldest was 84. Those in their teens numbered 64. One of them was exposed to a cumulative radiation dose of 56.89 millisieverts, the highest for his age group.

A TEPCO employee in his 30s received 678.8 millisieverts, the highest dose among all the workers.

Those in their 20s were exposed to an average dose of 15.86 millisieverts, the highest among all the age groups.

Workers in their 40s were the largest group at 5,893. They had an average exposure of 11.64 millisieverts.

The annual maximum permitted level for plant workers is set at 50 millisieverts. This makes it difficult to retain experienced workers for long periods. The ongoing decommission work is expected to take several decades.

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