Nuclear plant workers in Japan will be allowed to be exposed to more than twice the current level of radiation in emergency situations, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s Radiation Council.
The radiation exposure limit will be raised from the current 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts in emergencies, the radiation council announced in a report released July 30.
The higher level is still only half of the accepted international safety level of 500 millisieverts set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, an influential independent organization that provides guidelines on radiation protection, for rescue workers in emergency situations at nuclear facilities.
The new cap will be activated from April 2016 after revisions to the nuclear reactor regulatory law and the Industrial Safety and Health Law.
The limit was temporarily raised to 250 millisieverts by the radiation council following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
The decision was quickly made by the council members through e-mail discussions as the 100 millisieverts limit could have caused a shortage of workers tackling the emergency at the plant. Later, the limit was returned to 100 millisieverts.