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Japan Nuclear Plant Worker Dies


Fukushima Daiichi power plant's Unit 1 is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 11, 2011

Fukushima Daiichi power plant's Unit 1 is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 11, 2011

Japanese officials say a worker has died at the disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Authorities say the unidentified worker, a man in his 60s, collapsed on the job Saturday and was taken to a hospital.

Officials say the man became ill while carrying equipment to treat contaminated water that had been released from crippled reactors.

A Tokyo Electric Power Company spokesman said the man had not been contaminated by radiation. The exact cause of death has not been determined.

Radiation has been leaking from the Fukushima plant since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged cooling systems at all six of the plant's reactors. Elevated radiation levels have been detected in the soil, sea water, fish and agricultural products for kilometers around the plant. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated.

Also Saturday, workers finished shutting down a nuclear power plant along the Pacific coast that serves parts of central Japan. Operation of the plant was stopped until safety improvements are made.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan had requested the complete shutdown of Chubu Electric's Hamaoka plant to build a large seawall and improve other safety structures. The facility lies along a fault line.

Workers at the Hamaoka plant finished shutting down the number five reactor there on Saturday. The plant's number four reactor had been shut down Friday.

Three other reactors had already been shut down for regular maintenance and improvements.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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