FUKUI – Japan Atomic Power Co. has revealed that 10 workers were doused in radioactive coolant water during maintenance work in an auxiliary building for reactor 2 at the Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.
The 10 employees were not exposed to radiation, the company said on Wednesday.
Up to 160 liters of room-temperature coolant water containing 272,000 becquerels of radioactive substances was spilled — about one-tenth of the level that must be reported to the government, Japan Atomic Power said, adding that the amount of the hazardous materials was “not small.”
Water from a pipe sprayed into a tank room on the second basement floor of the auxiliary building around 10:50 a.m. Wednesday, when a worker loosened a bolt on a valve from a pipe attached to a coolant storage tank, according to Japan Atomic Power.
Of the 15 workers from a subcontracting company who were in the room, four were soaked from head to toe, while six were partially soaked. The water splashed directly onto the faces of some of the workers, according to Japan Atomic Power.
When the water poured in, the workers, wearing jumpsuits, helmets, gloves and goggles, were trying to drain the pipe to allow the valve to be checked and to exchange a rubber part in a tank that temporarily stores coolant water while operations at the plant are halted.
Japan Atomic Power said there was more water in the pipe than had been anticipated.
In November last year, Japan Atomic Power applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for safety checks on the Tsuruga reactor. An NRA screening is required before the nuclear reactor is reactivated.