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Japan’s ‘throwaway’ nuclear workers via Mail and Guardian online

KEVIN KROLICKI AND CHISA FUJIOKA FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – Jun 27 2011 08:48
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The basis for nuclear safety regulation is the assumption that cancers, including leukemia, can be caused years later by exposure to relatively small amounts of radiation, far below the level that would cause immediate sickness. In normal operations, international nuclear workers are limited to an average exposure of 20-millisieverts per year, about 10 times natural background radiation levels.

At Fukushima in 1997, Japanese safety rules were applied in a way that set very low radiation exposure limits on a daily basis, Fujii said. That was a prudent step, safety experts say, but it severely limited what Japanese workers could do on a single shift and increased costs.

The workaround was to bring in foreign workers who would absorb a full-year’s allowable dose of radiation of between 20-millisieverts and 25-millisieverts in just a few days.

“We brought in workers from South-east Asia and Saudi Arabia who had experience building oil tankers. They took a heavier dose of radiation than Japanese workers could have,” said Fujii, adding that United States workers were also hired.

The whole article is found at Japan’s ‘throwaway’ nuclear workers

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