Free Press Journal

Fukushima evacuation workers exposed to radiation above safe limit


Tokyo: The Japanese government on Monday said 38 percent of evacuation workers involved in the clean up operations following the 2011 multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility were exposed to radiation above the annual public limit.

According to a survey conducted by the Cabinet Office on around 3,000 personnel involved in operations within the 20-km evacuation zone around the stricken plant from March 12, a day after a massive earthquake triggered a tsunami which breached the nuclear facility’s barriers, causing the worst commercial nuclear disaster in history, 38 percent were found to have been exposed to radiation levels of 1 millisievert or more, Xinhua news agency reported.

Of them, the survey revealed that 19 percent were exposed to between 1 to 2 millisieverts, while 5 percent from the sample were exposed to between 5 and 10 millisieverts.

The government report also showed that in the days following the multiple meltdowns at the plant, 62 percent of those surveyed were exposed to radiation registering less than the 1 millisievert public limit.

The government said radiation levels dropped on March 18, 2011, to around 0.1 millisievert, but had spiked on the 15th of the month following a hydrogen explosion at the plant’s third reactor building.

For civilians involved in such rescue operations, an exposure level of 1 millisievert has been permitted as the limit.