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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 May 7 - 13  > Radiation-exposed worker sues TEPCO
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2014 May 7 - 13 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

Radiation-exposed worker sues TEPCO

May 8, 2014
An ex-worker exposed to radiation during emergency work at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant filed a lawsuit on May 7 with the Fukushima District Court Iwaki branch, seeking compensation from companies, including the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

The plaintiff demands a total of 11 million yen in damages, claiming that TEPCO and Kandenko, the chief contractor, failed to maintain workers’ safety and consequently exposed them to high-levels of radiation.

The 48-year-old man was working for TEPCO’s subcontractor in Fukushima Prefecture. Soon after the meltdown accident, on March 24, 2011, he entered the basement of the power station’s No.3 reactor’s turbine building and worked to connect power cables. During the just one-hour of work, he received a dose of 20.49 mSv which exceeded the limit of 20 mSv per year set by the state.

The Industrial Safety and Health Law and the Ordinance on the Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards require operators to take necessary measures to prevent health damage from radiation. Article 42 of the ordinance stipulates that employers should “immediately evacuate workers” from the site when there is a possibility that a radiation dose may exceed 15 mSv.

According to the complaint, the foreman of Kandenko’s work team dismissed a dosimeter’s warning sound as a “malfunction”, and ordered the workers to continue the work. Meantime, another team from the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP measured radioactivity levels before starting the work. They rushed out of the site as their meter showed a level of 400 mSv.

After submitting the petition to the court, the complainant told reporters, “I’m concerned about my future due to the radiation exposure. I hope this legal action will help provide nuclear plant workers with better working conditions.”

Past related article:
> Nuclear power plant worker confesses cover-up of his own radiation doses [August 17, 2012]
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