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Mental Health of Fukushima Daiichi Workers in Focus via Global Post

Aside from the obvious fears of radiation exposure, workers at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex are now battling another concern: the state of their mental health.

For months, important issues such as the frequency of their showers, whether to eat fresh vegetables, and housing have all been huge issues for the 1,600 staff workers at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants, at the time when about 80,000 residents near the complex have already evacuated.

“We must keep monitoring the health condition of the workers,” said Takeshi Tanigawa, the Department of Public Health chairman at Ehime University’s medical school, who has visited the Fukushima Daini gymnasium, where the plant workers are living. Dr. Tanigawa has been a part-time occupational physician at the nuclear complex since 1991.

“Workers are at risk of developing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in the future…given what they had experienced at the very beginning of the March 11 disaster” including hydrogen explosions, he said at an event at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Tokyo on Wednesday. The workers are now working toward stabilizing the stricken complex, in line with a roadmap for bringing the damaged reactors to a safe shutdown in a six to nine month period.


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