Skip to main content

The Japanese Workers

douple This is the most thorough account I’ve seen yet of what happened to the workers at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 who were contaminated with radiation. From Nucnet:

JAIF also confirmed that three workers were contaminated when laying cables in the turbine hall of unit 3.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the three were contract workers laying cables in the turbine hall. Two of them were found to have radioactivity on their feet and legs. JAIF said they were exposed to more than 170 millisieverts (mSv).

The workers were washed in an attempt to remove radioactivity, but since there was a possibility of beta-ray burning of the skin, the two were taken to the Fukushima University Hospital for examination and then transferred to Japan's National Institute of Radiological Sciences for further examination. They are expected to be monitored for around four days.

It is thought that the workers ignored their dosimeters’ alarms believing them to be false and continued working with their feet in contaminated water.

According to JAIF, the level of radioactive fission products in the water was about 3.9 million bequerels per cubic centimeter or 10,000 times higher than the reactor water used in the course of normal operations.

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has asked plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to review the radiation control system immediately in order to avoid similar incidents in the future.

As of 24 March at 19:30 Japan time (11:30 central European time), the number of workers at the plant found to have received more than 100 mSv of radiation dose was 17 including the three contract workers. The remaining fourteen are Tepco employees, the IAEA said.


NPR talked to Evan Douple, associate chief of research at the Hiroshima-based Radiation Effects Research Foundation, which has worked on a decades long study of atomic-bomb survivors. The question was whether Fukushima Daiichi would be a plausible follow-up project. Answer: No The interviewer is Richard Knox.

Given what you said about the impossibility of doing the kind of long-term study you mounted of the atom-bomb survivors, can we learn anything from the current episode?

Douple: On the basis of our current estimates, there shouldn't be measurable numbers of cancers. So you won't be able to count them, ever. But once the dose estimates are put together and extrapolated, you should be able to make a crude estimate of the health effects, based on the RERF data. And I think that estimate will surprise a lot of people.

And they'll be surprised because?

Douple: They're so low.

Evan Douple


Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…