The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) panel said that Japan has underestimated by 20% the internal radiation doses that the Fukushima workers are getting as they clean-up the crippled nuclear plant. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant suffered a critical meltdown in 2011 and has been offline ever since.
The panel’s initial findings say that the estimates of the radioactive substances given by the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) and government authorities may be too low. They analyzed radiation doses in 25,000 people who worked on or before October 2012 from data given by the authorities, but the UN committee says that some types of radiation were not taken into consideration into that report from the Japanese groups. The workers were only tested for thyroid gland doses from radioactive iodine without accounting for the iodine-132 and iodine-133 which only has half-lives of 2 hours and 20 hours. The thyroid tests were also given after a significant delay which means the results may not have been totally accurate.
However the report did not give yet a detailed report on how this will affect the health of the workers. But if the estimates are correct, more Fukushima workers will be eligible to receive free check-ups and treatment because right now, only those who are subjected to 50 millisieverts or more in whole-body doses can receive free tests. Currently, there are 1,100 workers who are receiving this, but over 2,000 workers that have below 50 millisieverts, but thyroid gland doses of 100 millisieverts or over can get cancer tests if the UN report proves more accurate than that from TEPCO.
[ via Reuters ]
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan