Water which three workers were exposed to at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant contained radioactive materials 10,000 times the normal level, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday.
The finding underlines the possibility that part of the fuel in the No. 3 reactor of the plant or the spent fuel stored in the pool in the reactor building may be damaged.
The three, who are from a company cooperating with TEPCO, were involved in work to restore power to the No. 3 reactor, which has lost cooling function. They were working in the basement of the reactor’s turbine building when they were irradiated.
Two of the three have been hospitalized due to possible burns caused by beta rays which can cause major skin damage. They were not wearing boots at the time and therefore their feet were soaked in the water.
TEPCO said almost no water was present during an on-site inspection the previous day and also that the level of radiation was low during the inspection.
”Because of this, the workers were believed to have continued their work even after their dosimeters’ alarm went off, assuming a problem with the machine,” a TEPCO official said.
TEPCO plans to strictly re-enforce the rule of evacuating the site whenever the dosimeter’s alarm goes off.
The two hospitalized workers will be transferred later Friday to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba City for closer examination from Fukushima Medical University hospital.
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