Thursday, October 6, 2011

3rd Worker Died at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, Cause Unknown

and there is no warm underwear for the workers.

But first, about the 3rd death.

Jiji Tsushin (10/6/2011) relates the news almost in passing. The main part of the news is that TEPCO will try activating the neutron sensors inside the Reactor Pressure Vessel of Reactor 2 (there are 124 of them) and do the same in Reactor 3, and other reactor-related topics.

Then, at the end,

一方東電は、同原発で放射能汚染水の貯蔵タンク関連の作業をしていた50代の男性作業員が5日に体調不良を訴え、6日に死亡したと発表した。男性は8月から働いており、累積被ばく量は約2ミリシーベルト。東電は、被ばくと死因との因果関係は考えにくいが、死亡診断書で確認するとしている。作業員の死者は計 3人となった。 

TEPCO also announced that a worker in his 50s fell ill on October 5 and died on October 6. The worker was doing the work around the storage tanks for the contaminated water at the plant. He had been working since August, and his cumulative radiation exposure was about 2 millisieverts. TEPCO said it was hard to believe his radiation exposure had something to do with his death, but the company would confirm in the death certificate. The total number of deaths among the plant workers are now three.

The first worker died of a heart attack in May, while he was carrying heavy equipment on foot to build the contaminated water processing facilities. The second one died of acute leukemia in August after working for one week doing radiation control for the workers in the headquarter building on the plant. They were both hired by the subcontractors several degrees removed from TEPCO. I wonder if they had any written employment contract. Probably not.

The worker who tweets from Fuku I says it's been very cold at the plant, and the workers are trying to stay warm by doubling the tyvek suits or wearing parkas. TEPCO is telling them not to do it because TEPCO is running out of money. He is wondering if TEPCO will provide warm underwear for the workers, but in case it doesn't, he says he will buy for himself a warm jacket.

Fukushima Prefecture will get 50 billion yen from the national government for the "recovery" projects including a world-class cancer hospital, but not a yen to spare for the lowly plant workers.


Anonymous said...

Trying to save money while fighting the or at least one of the greatest industrial accidents in history. Wonder what other corners are being cut.

One cannot help but feel sorry for the workers.

Anonymous said...

Feel sorry for the workers indeed. No doubt they were probably told by their superiors before undertaking such work that harmful exposure would be 'minimal'.

Anonymous said...

Ex-skf is becoming more progressively socialist by the day. I think its a good sign.

Anonymous said...

All of the Workers should stop working.

That will be the only way to show that they need a change in how they are managed.

If they don't, this pollution will go on for a very long time, be forgotten, and eventually lead to another accident.

Atomfritz said...

Tepco should be ashamed of how they treat their accident liquidators.

Even the Soviets treated the Chernobyl liquidation workers better. They got good food like meat, vegetables and fruit that were scarce in real socialism, not to mention the daily free bottle of internal decontamination liquid ("vodka"), all this of course free of charge. And food was not served in small bento portions, but as sort of all-you-can-eat buffets.

People in mid-age and older are more susceptible to radiation damage, especially if they are already being weakened by insufficient clothing and nutrition.

I hope that the greed of Tepco management will not eventually lead to many workers dying in a row because of warming themselves with radwaste containers that somehow seem to stay warm forever magically.

At least there is one good news.
More than half a year after the accident began, they finally seem to try to make neutron metering work again.
If the neutron detectors, or at least some of them, are still functional, we'll be able to see if there recriticalities occur. (At least if they aren't being covered-up).

Anonymous said...

Dear people of Japan,
Get off your ass and save your country.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Progressively socialist? Oh boy. I've been accused of so many things - from outright liar to racist and redneck. Now I'm progressively socialist? This gotta be the worst.

Darth3/11 said...

Could someone organize a drive to show up at the doors of TEPCO in Fukushima with truckloads of warm long longs and winter wear for the workers? This would be a public shaming, heaped upon the doorsteps of TEPCO.

Anonymous said...

CAUSE UNKNOWN? Pick me! Pick me! I think I know the cause.

Bruce Hayden said...

Three workers dead? Give me a break! There were two workers that died close together and a third not long afterwards early on. Maybe the internet articles were lies! Anyone else remember this? TEPCO executives and government officials should have been swinging from a tree long ago. I have lost all respect for the hived mind of the Japanese people. The government and TEPCO make the Yakuza look like choir boys.

Anonymous said...

The worker who died received a cumulative dose of only 2 millisieverts?? I have a great deal of trouble believing that's all he (or any worker at the Fukushima Daiichi site) would have gotten by now. Especially in light of the fact that one of the destroyed reactors at the site is supposedly spewing out a dose of 10 sieverts per hour!

If, however, the dose of 2mSv is accurate, then there's no way the worker in question could have died from radiation sickness, which usually doesn't set in until the dose rate exceeds 250 mSv.

Atomfritz said...

Sadly the dosimeter counts cannot be relied on, keeping in mind the old history of workers turning off their dosimeters to not lose their job as soon as the allowable dose has been reached. (Btw, this is not the only way of artificially "lower" the registered radiation dose.)

Heart conditions are a common form of low-radiation damage, especially at older people.

And, the individual susceptibility of people is very different. A few are way more sensitive to radiation, leading to fast onset of radiation damage.

Too sad I don't know much about usual mortality at work. If I remember correctly, there have been about 5000 people working there for the last half year, and three died. This would be a work mortality of about 1 o/oo (promille) per year. Does anybody know whether this is a normal percentage of people dying at work (without work accidents)?

Anyway, the case of the guy who got quasi-instant leukemia from short work time at the plant might be a good example where suspicion is valid.
As Tepco avoided any investigation into the cases, we cannot really dismiss the possibility that radiation was indeed the cause.

Just standing on a unnoticed small hot spot too long could be sufficient. Remember, radiation dose decreases square to the distance. His feet could have been irradiated enough to make some cells turn malignant, while the dosimeter at the chest registers only marginal dose (if turned on).

Kyle R. said...

It's only a matter of time before the molten corium hits the water table. When it does....BOOM! I'm going to find an abandoned mine somewhere so I can avoid the fallout.

Anonymous said...

I think a good solution to the clean up and restoration of control om the reactors should be done by the management since they know what is best and where to save money to the best advantage

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