Posts Tagged workers

Nuke plant hires not overexposed | The Japan Times Online

A radiation table with data on about 70 employees from subcontractors hired to bring the Fukushima nuclear plant crisis under control says none were exposed beyond the emergency limit of 250 millisieverts, a document obtained by Kyodo News says.

The document — a table on workers’ radiation exposure — was compiled by subcontractors based on information on each worker’s radiation exposure and other data from Tokyo Electric Power Co., also known as Tepco.

The document lists the workers’ names, employers and kind of work they engaged in, along with daily exposure divided by working time, traveling time and waiting time, and accumulated amounts of exposure.

The data reveal for the first time how Tepco is managing workers’ radiation exposure. Many workers already have a cumulative exposure of around 30 millisieverts, the table says. One worker was exposed to 0.2 millisievert each day, which brought his cumulative exposure to over 30 millisieverts.

via Nuke plant hires not overexposed | The Japan Times Online.

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TEPCO president apologizes in Fukushima : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE The Daily Yomiuri

FUKUSHIMA–Masataka Shimizu, the president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., visited Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato on Friday to apologize for the ongoing crisis at the firms Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but the governor expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s handling of the situation.

This was the first time the TEPCO president had met with the governor since the nuclear crisis began. Sato openly showed emotion when he talked about children who have been forced to evacuate due to the nuclear accident. Sato said about 6,000 children had moved to other prefectures.

Shimizu explained TEPCO’s plan to end the nuclear crisis and discussed compensation for evacuees with the governor. “We’ll soon begin handing out initial payments, set up consultation centers and respond to people’s requests,” Shimizu said.Sato replied, “Compensation must be provided at all cost,” and demanded the firm pay for several kinds of damages, including those caused by rumors.

Regarding the possibility of restarting the nuclear power plant, the governor said it was “impossible under the current situation.”

via TEPCO president apologizes in Fukushima : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE The Daily Yomiuri.

Paying compensation for rumours? How will that work, exactly? What’s the going rate for “damage caused by a rumour”? What kind of damage?

I understand Governor Sato’s feelings, but why does he have the power to decide, on behalf of everyone in Fukushima, whether or not there will be a nuclear power plant in Fukushima? (Click here to read more trenchant comments below the fold.)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Nuke workers at risk of overwork death | The Japan Times Online

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More on the TEPCO Fukushima workers’ working conditions. I’ve underlined one part that seems to reveal peculiary Japanese values.

The workers are not only undertaking dangerous work in severe conditions but also feel a sense of moral responsibility as employees of the operator of the crippled plant, Takeshi Tanigawa said in an interview….

Tanigawa, a professor at Ehime University School of Medicine, has been a part-time industrial physician for the two Fukushima nuclear plants since 1991….

At the end of each day, workers are decontaminated and go to the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant some 10 km south to sleep on the floor of a gymnasium in sleeping bags with blankets. There are tatami mats on the floor and a sheet to insulate them from the cold, he said.

Among the workers was one engaged in work around the clock without being allowed to go out at one point, he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Twitter / @Steve Herman: Yomiuri: #Fukushima reside …

VoA’s Steve Herman tweets:

Yomiuri: #Fukushima residents being shunned elsewhere in Japan – (in 日本語)

via Twitter / @Steve Herman: Yomiuri: #Fukushima reside ….

So, it now looks as though TEPCO’s policy of keeping their Fukushima workers out of the news and anonymous may not be a conspiracy to exploit the workers, but rather a protective measure, as my Japanese lady friends had suspected.

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Nuke plant worker mum about own exposure to fallout | The Japan Times Online

The “faceless Fukushima 50”, they’ve been called. They’ve also been banned from talking to the media, although some are obviously defying the ban (or is this a deliberate leak?).

I haven’t been keeping a beady eye on non-Japanese media reports about these, so I’m not sure how they have been reported, but no doubt there will be (or perhaps have been) the usual, predictable slew of “Cover-up!! Government lies!!!”-type articles. It sells newspapers and attracts eyeballs, which is what “media” is all about.

A group of Japanese women I spoke to recently about the “faceless Fukushima 50” did not jump to this conclusion. What was their conclusion? That TEPCO was not revealing names in order to protect the workers. After all, everyone is guessing that the workers have been exposed to high levels of radiation. What happens to them after they come home? If they try to change jobs? Chances are high that they will be ostracized.

Voice of America reporter Steve Herman, who traveled around the quake-hit area for 7-10 days after the earthquake and whose reporting focused on the Fukushima nuclear crisis, tweeted on his return to Tokyo that everyone was glad to see him back but no-one wanted to hug him!

Imagine how it might be for those TEPCO workers if they were “outed”.

I have no evidence to prove that this is, in fact, TEPCO’s motivation for keeping their workers anonymous. However, if my past experience is any guide, the typical, Western, knee-jerk conclusion is wrong, more often than not, when it comes to interpreting Japanese behaviour. The parameters are different.

This Japan Times article says Murata has stayed at the plant since March 11, but an earlier Japan Times article (April 3) reported “In regular rotation, groups are bused out to three-day shifts of punishing work at the water-logged, radiation-spewing complex.”

“I can’t tell you. It’s personal information,” said Yasuki Murata, a 44-year-old worker from the plant’s planning and public relations section, batting away repeated questions about his radiation exposure in an interview Wednesday.

Since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant, causing it to spew radioactive materials into the environment, Murata has been staying on the plant’s premises in a two-story quake-proof building whose few windows are covered with lead plates to keep out radiation.

via Nuke plant worker mum about own exposure to fallout | The Japan Times Online.

TEPCO workers in happiers days

TEPCO workers in happier days (click photo for source)

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2011/04/03 21:32 – Absorbent Yet To Soak Up Radioactive Water At Fukushima Plant

Update on the bodies of two workers found recently at Fukushima.

They died of bleeding from multiple injuries apparently after the tsunami struck the plant, TEPCO said. It is the first time that TEPCO workers have been confirmed to have died at the Daiichi plant following the twin disasters.

via 2011/04/03 21:32 – Absorbent Yet To Soak Up Radioactive Water At Fukushima Plant.

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Rural sports complex turns into base camp for nuclear workers | The Japan Times Online

The Japan Times provides more details of the working conditions at Fukushima, and reports on Kan’s visit there.
Update:I don’t think this is the complete truth, but this article and others on the same subject seem to indicate that the government and TEPCo are aware of people’s concern and anxiety over
a) the workers on the front-lines of this crisis, and
b) the secrecy that continues to shroud exactly what is going on in the plant.
One could be cynical and say the officials are trying to avert criticism and fob people off, but I take Edano’s statement of gratitude as 100% sincere (if a little late). As was Tokyo mayor Ishihara’s expression of thanks to the Tokyo Hyperrescue fire-fighting team.

“I humbly bow to the workers and officials who are engaged in various difficult work at the frontline of the nuclear plant,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Tuesday.

via Rural sports complex turns into base camp for nuclear workers | The Japan Times Online.

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Workers endure austere conditions in averting nuclear disaster –

These guys are heroes. As of course are the ones not necessarily doing the actual work but racking their brains for seat-of-the-pants solutions to multiple problems (whether these problems could or should have been foreseen must wait until the crisis is over before being decided).  Until now, I haven’t linked to any CNN article, as there were none that were worth linking to. This is an exception, because there are so few articles on this subject (these guys are incommunicado). No doubt there’ll be a movie made about them.

They sleep anywhere they can find open space — in conference rooms, corridors, even stairwells. They have one blanket, no pillows and a leaded mat intended to keep radiation at bay.

They eat only two meals each day — a carefully rationed breakfast of 30 crackers and vegetable juice and for dinner, a ready-to-eat meal or something out of a can.They clean themselves with wet wipes, since the supply of fresh water is short.

These are the grueling living conditions for the workers inside Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. They’ve been hailed as heroes risking their lives by braving high levels of radiation as they work to avert a nuclear meltdown.

But until now, the outside world has known little about the workers’ routine.

via Workers endure austere conditions in averting nuclear disaster –

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