News / Asia

Japanese Workers Hospitalized for Excessive Radiation Exposure

Medical staff arrive at Fukushima Medical University Hospital to treat radiation exposed workers from Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Fukushima City, Japan, March 24, 2011.
Medical staff arrive at Fukushima Medical University Hospital to treat radiation exposed workers from Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Fukushima City, Japan, March 24, 2011.

Two workers at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant have been hospitalized for radiation exposure suffered on Thursday.

They are among those frantically trying to get critical cooling functions restored to damaged reactors and fuel ponds.

Radiation also continues to be detected above normal levels as far as 300 kilometers south of the facility, which was knocked out of commission by a huge quake and tsunami nearly two weeks ago.

Excessive radiation exposure

The hospitalized workers were exposed to excessive radiation exposure following an accident Thursday.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that two of three men working together in the damaged Number 3 reactor's turbine building slipped into water and did not realize they had been exposed to high levels of radiation until they noticed a rash on their skin.

The two are said to be suffering from beta ray burns.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Vice President Sakae Muto says the men were underground laying cable critical to restarting the cooling system for the reactor, which contains a mix of plutonium and uranium fuel.

All three workers were exposed to between 170 and 180 milliseverts of radiation, said Muto. That is less than the maximum of 250 millisieverts for workers at the plant that has been set by the government. About 25 people injured at the nuclear plant since it began leaking radiation following damage on March 11 from the quake-triggered tsunami.

Crucial repair work continues

Emergency repair work resumed at the plant on Thursday, after a break the previous day when black smoke was again seen at the Number 3 reactor.

Video taken from a helicopter Thursday morning shows what appears to be steam rising from four of the nuclear facility's six reactor buildings. Authorities said the situation was not serious enough to continue a halt in the critical work to prevent a potentially larger catastrophe.

If water is not replenished to pools, exposed used fuel could release significant amounts of radioactive substances.

New worries emerge

There is also fresh concern about the damaged Number 1 reactor, where pressure inside the reactor again increased. Crews are trying to maintain a delicate balance between spraying water on the radioactive fuel, which causes a rise in pressure, and reducing the water flow which could see temperatures increase to a dangerously high level.

Since the March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake, which triggered a destructive tsunami, the nuclear power complex has experienced many serious problems.  These include hydrogen explosions in reactor buildings, radiation leaks, exposed and overheating fuel rods, damage reactor cores and shaking from powerful aftershocks.

Radiation continues to be detected in the surrounding air, soil and sea water.

James Symons, the director of the nuclear science division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, says at this stage, the Fukushima disaster has more in common with the 1979 Three Mile Island partial meltdown in the United States than the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe in Ukraine.

"All these things are different. But it's closer. It's certainly very unlike what happened at Chernobyl, where the entire reactor exploded, basically," he said. "It's certainly very serious, but - as far as we can tell - it's also coming under control."

Japan's government says the detection of radioactive neutron beams 15 times near the plant following the destruction by the tsunami were natural events and there is no evidence any uranium and plutonium leaked from reactors.

A government spokesman in Tokyo, as well as Symons at the laboratory in Berkeley, both reject assertions by some overseas in the industry that a critical nuclear reaction from a reactor or spent fuel rods likely emitted the neutron beams.

Zone warnings expanded



Japan's government is now advising people beyond the 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant to remain indoors. Officials say that, since the explosions, some infants theoretically may have accumulated 100 millisieverts of radiation in their thyroids.

Some scientists say those exposed to that total radiation dose should take potassium iodide, because an annual dose above 100 millisieverts is believed to be associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Japan's science ministry says radiation levels detected in Tokyo have tripled, compared to those detected earlier in the week.

The Tokyo metropolitan government, and the governments in the adjacent prefectures of Chiba and Saitama, has announced levels of radioactive iodine considered unsafe for infants were detected this week in tap water, sparking panic- buying of bottled water.

Vegetable shipments have been stopped out of areas adjacent to the nuclear power plant after some leafy greens were found to be contaminated with levels of radioactive iodine and cesium exceeding government standards.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid