Fukushima workers exposed to nuclear-contaminated water, two hospitalized

2023-10-27 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Tokyo Electric Power Company announced on Thursday that two male workers in their 20s and 40s, who were exposed to nuclear-contaminated water while cleaning pipes at the Advanced Liquid Processing System at the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, have been hospitalized for decontamination and observation.

The two workers, employees of a partner firm of TEPCO, were engaged in the cleaning process on Wednesday morning along with three other male workers. During the operation, a hose used to transfer nuclear-contaminated water to a tank went loose, leading to the splashing of approximately 100 milliliters of radioactive water, The Asahi Shimbun, a daily newspaper in Japan, reported.

Among the five workers, four of them showed body contamination, with one worker having contamination throughout his entire body, while another had contamination on his lower body and both arms.

Even after decontamination at the nuclear plant, the two workers' radiation levels did not fall below the regulatory limit, which is 4 becquerels per square centimeter. Consequently, they were transported to a hospital in Fukushima on Wednesday evening, The Asahi Shimbun reported.

TEPCO said the decontamination of their skin continued at the hospital, where the two men are expected to stay for some time while under observation for at least two weeks, Kyodo News reported.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it has instructed TEPCO to rigorously enforce preventive measures and prioritize safety in decommissioning operations, including the safety of workers.

The second round of the releasing of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima plant into the ocean, which began on Oct 5, was completed on Monday.

This week, the International Atomic Energy Agency conducted a safety review of the activities carried out at the plant. A report on the review is expected to be finalized by the end of 2023, said Lydie Evrard, IAEA deputy director-general and head of the agency's department of nuclear safety and security, at a news conference in Tokyo on Monday.

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