Tuesday, April 19, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Government Planning to Raise the Radiation Limit for Plant Workers to 500 Milli-Sievert/Year

(Update on the topic in my later post. 250 milli-sievert/year is just a stepping stone.)

from the current 250 milli-sievert/year, which was raised from 100 milli-sievert/year after the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.

From Nihon Television News 24 (4/18/2011):

In order to stabilize the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, the government is planning to raise the radiation exposure limit for the workers from the current 250 milli-sievert/year.

The radiation exposure limit for workers at nuclear power plants is 100 milli-sievert/year, but the limit has been raised to 250 milli-sievert/year to deal with the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident. According to the government sources, the higher limit is being considered because it is getting increasingly difficult to have enough workers to work on the plant. Also, the radiation inside the Reactor buildings is high, and the annual limit of 250 milli-sieverts may not be high enough to achieve the goals laid out by the TEPCO road map.

The international standard allows 500 milli-sievert/year in an emergency work, but it hasn't been decided how high the new limit will be. The government will carefully assess the timing of announcement, keeping in consideration the health concerns of the workers and the public opinion.

The work at the [Fukuhsima I] nuclear power plant requires skills and experience under harsh conditions, and securing workers has been a problem.

  原子力発電所の作業員に認められる放射線量の限度は年間100ミリシーベルトだが、今回の事故に限り、250ミリシーベルトまで引き上げられている。政府 関係者によると、十分な作業員の数の確保が難しくなっていることや、原子炉建屋内の放射線量が高く、今回引き上げた250ミリシーベルトの上限では原子炉 の安定化に向けたロードマップの実現に追いつかないことから、上限の引き上げを検討しているという。

If I remember right, 500 milli-sievert/year is for an emergency work that lasts for a few days to a few weeks, and not for a few months to a year or more. Same thing for raising the radiation exposure limit for non-nuclear plant workers for an emergency; that emergency is not supposed to last for more than few weeks.

I also hear that the government is planning to raise the annual radiation exposure limit for pregnant women. Instead of evacuating the expecting mothers to safer, lower-radiation places, the government simply raises the exposure limit and tell them it's safe, don't worry. What a country.

It is a genocide. Not much different from Colonel Gaddafi killing the fellow Libyans.


netudiant said...

It would seem appropriate for the workers to be compensated for accepting bodily harm.
They are taking punishment to help preserve Japan from what could be a much greater disaster.
Surely long term health and cancer insurance ought to be provided them as a minimal gesture of thanks from the government and people of Japan.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

They (government or TEPCO, not sure) have offered to have the workers' stem cells cultured, but they are making the workers pay for the procedure ($2000). Or so I heard.

Anonymous said...

US Army FM 4-02.7 states, in Table A-10, "Stability Operations and Support Operations: Radiation Injuries and Effects of Radiation", the following:


This is for accumulated doses over a longer period, mind you.

An equal prompt dose earns you 60-90 days in the hospital, with vomiting, hemorrhage and opportunistic infections. Death is a distinct possibility (0-60%, depending on dose), up to three months out. Oh, and you may go bald, too.

Anonymous said...

I think we will come to find the Fukushima 5000 are going to be forgotten and ignored as quickly as possible. The anonymity of the workers is going to help TEPCO immensely if any of them start to agitate for better health compensation. There will be a lot of "you can't prove your illness is related to radiation exposure" in the future. The IAEA claims they are going to do long term health studies but I doubt they will be very meaningful since the IAEA has already declared that no workers have exceeded their 250 milli-sievert exposure. How could they be so sure, when many workers didn't have dosimeters for the dirtiest part of the accident so far? Any health studies will have the same predetermined results of "everything is fine".

The worse part is the workers are being fed a line of BS about their Samurai heritage this will make them even more reluctant to complain about their injuries. Samurai don't lament the injuries they receive in battle they stoically endure them.

Anonymous said...

This also raises the question of how many "chest X-rays" are they going to expose the unborn to over the course of this disaster? It is pretty well established that X-rays are capable of injuring the unborn. The civilian population's acceptable exposure levels were increased to 20 milli-sievert per year will this be "safely" raised in the coming months? It sure seems likely especially if TEPCO's "road map" detours into further disaster. Occupational X-ray exposure in the US allows for 5 milli-sievert exposure during the entire pregnacy. The new 20 milli-sievert standard will exceed NRC reccomendations. Now of course eating food contaminated with bio-available radionuclides plus external exposure is totally different than external exposure alone but I'm sure the nuclear industry won't let the facts get in the way of their future justifications. The Japanese public need to demand a independent "Tooth Fairy Project" for the young victims of Fukushima to see how much Sr-90 kids absorbed before they settle on compensation.



"X-rays and pregnancy

Depending on the dose, x-rays could potentially harm an unborn child. The FDA (FDA CDRH 2001) stated that, "There is scientific disagreement about whether the small amounts of radiation used in diagnostic radiology can actually harm the unborn child, but it is known that the unborn child is very sensitive to the effects of things like radiation, certain drugs, excess alcohol, and infection. This is true, in part, because the cells are rapidly dividing and growing into specialized cells and tissues. If radiation or other agents were to cause changes in these cells, there could be a slightly increased chance of birth defects or certain illnesses, such as leukemia, later in life."

Women who have been x-rayed before realizing they are pregnant should discuss this with their doctors. All women who are or may be pregnant should inform their doctors before being x-rayed. Informing doctors about a possible pregnancy allows them to weigh the risks and benefits. The FDA (FDA CDRH 2001) states that, "…the doctor may decide that it would be best to cancel the x-ray examination, to postpone it, or to modify it to reduce the amount of radiation. Or, depending on your medical needs, and realizing that the risk is very small, the doctor may feel that it is best to proceed with the x-ray as planned. In any case, you should feel free to discuss the decision with your doctor."

Occupational X-ray exposure

Federal laws have been established to protect the unborn children of women exposed to radiation in the workplace. In the workplace, the dose of radiation to an unborn child throughout the entire pregnancy cannot exceed 0.5 rem (5 milli-sievert). For x-rays, rem and rad are equivalent and the limit of exposure for unborn children is therefore 0.5 rads (NRC 10 CFR 20.1208)."


On a side note here's a simple radiation unit converter to help dispel any confusion in future conversions.


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