Tepco worker’s thyroid cancer is recognized as a work-related
Japanese labor authorities have recognized the thyroid cancer of a man who worked at Tepco’s stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant as a work-related, it was learned Friday.
It is the first time that thyroid cancer has been recognized as a work-related illness caused by radiation from the plant after it was damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
This is the third case labor authorities have linked to radiation exposure for workers at the Fukushima plant. The two previous cases involved leukemia.
At a meeting Friday, a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry panel of experts presented for the first time criteria for recognizing thyroid cancer as a work-related disease from radiation, including doses of 100 millisieverts or more and a period of five years or more between exposure to radiation and the development of cancer.
Based on the criteria, a labor standards office in Fukushima Prefecture concluded that the cancer of the employee, who is in his 40s, was caused by radiation from the plant.
The man joined Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. in 1992 and worked at several nuclear power plants for over 20 years.
After checking reactor instruments and carrying out other duties at the Fukushima No. 1 plant from March 2011 to April 2012, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in April 2014. His cumulative radiation dose after the accident stood at 139.12 millisieverts.
According to the International Commission on Radiological Protection, lifetime cancer mortality rises by about 0.5 percent for those exposed to a dose of 100 millisieverts.
Thyroid cancer compensation for Fukushima plant worker
A man who developed thyroid gland cancer after working at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has for the first time won the right to work-related compensation.
While the case ranks as the third time a worker at the Fukushima plant has been recognized as eligible for work-related compensation because of cancer caused by radiation exposure, it is the first instance involving thyroid gland cancer.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced its decision Dec. 16.
The man in his 40s, an employee of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., worked at the Fukushima plant after the triple meltdown triggered by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. He was diagnosed with thyroid gland cancer in April 2014.
The man worked at various nuclear plants, including the Fukushima facility, between 1992 and 2012. He was mainly involved in operating and overseeing reactor operations.
After the March 2011 nuclear accident, the man was in the plant complex when hydrogen explosions rocked the No. 1 and No. 3 reactor buildings. His duties included confirming water and pressure meter levels as well as providing fuel to water pumps.
The amount of his accumulated whole body radiation exposure was 150 millisieverts, with about 140 millisieverts resulting from the period after the nuclear accident. Of that amount, about 40 millisieverts was through internal exposure caused by inhaling or other ways of absorbing radioactive materials.
Along with recognizing the first work-related compensation involving thyroid gland cancer, the labor ministry also released for the first time its overall position on dealing with compensation issues for workers who were at the Fukushima plant after the accident.
The ministry said it would recognize compensation for workers whose accumulated whole body dose exceeded 100 millisieverts and for whom at least five years have passed since the start of work involving radiation exposure and the diagnosis of cancer.
Ministry officials said the dose level was not a strict standard but one yardstick for recognizing compensation.
According to a study by TEPCO and a U.N. scientific committee looking into the effects of radiation, 174 people who worked at the plant had accumulated whole body doses exceeding 100 millisieverts as of this past March.
There is also an estimate that more than 2,000 workers have radiation doses exceeding 100 millisieverts just in their thyroid gland.
First thyroid cancer case in Japan recognized as Fukushima-related & compensated by govt
A man who worked at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan during the disastrous 2011 meltdown has had his thyroid cancer recognized as work-related. The case prompted the government to finally determine its position on post-disaster compensation.
The unnamed man, said to be in his 40s, worked at several nuclear power plants between 1992 and 2012 as an employee of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. He was present at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant during the March 11, 2011 meltdown. Three years after the disaster, he was diagnosed with thyroid gland cancer, which the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed on Friday as stemming from exposure to radiation.
The man’s body radiation exposure was totaled at 150 millisieverts, almost 140 of which were a result of the accident. Although this is not the first time that health authorities have linked cancer to radiation exposure for workers at the Fukushima plant, it is the first time a patient with thyroid cancer has won the right to work-related compensation.
There have been two cases previously, both of them involving leukemia.
The recent case prompted Japan’s health and labor ministry to release for the first time its overall position on dealing with compensation issues for workers who were at the Fukushima plant at the time and after the accident. Workers who had been exposed to over 100 millisieverts and developed cancer five years or more after exposure were entitled to compensation, the ministry ruled this week. The dose level was not a strict standard but rather a yardstick, the officials added.
As of March, 174 people who worked at the plant had been exposed to over 100 millisieverts worth of radiation, according to a joint study by the UN and the Tokyo Electric Power Company. There is also an estimate that more than 2,000 workers have radiation doses exceeding 100 millisieverts just in their thyroid gland, Japanese newspaper the Asahi Shimbun reported.
The 2011 accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant was the worst of its kind since the infamous 1986 catastrophe in Chernobyl, Ukraine. After the Tohoku earthquake in eastern Japan and the subsequent tsunami, the cooling system of one of the reactors stopped working, causing a meltdown. Nearly half a million people were evacuated and a 20-kilometer exclusion zone was set up.