Fukushima nuclear disaster: Worker sues Tepco over cancer

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The plaintiff helped build scaffolding to repair the damaged No 4 reactor at the Fukushima plant

 

A Japanese court has begun hearing the case of a man who developed leukaemia after working as a welder at the damaged Fukushima nuclear site.

The plaintiff, 42, is the first person to be recognised by labour authorities as having an illness linked to clean-up work at the plant.

He is suing Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the complex.

The nuclear site was hit by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, causing a triple meltdown.

It was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. An exclusion zone remains in place around the site as thousands of workers continue clean-up efforts.

‘Expendable labourer’

The man, from Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture, was a welder for a sub-contractor.

He spent six months working at Genkai and Fukushima No 2 nuclear plants before moving to the quake-hit Fukushima No 1 plant, where he build scaffolding for repair work at the No 4 reactor building. His cumulative radiation exposure was 19.78 millisieverts.

This is lower than official limits – Japan currently allows workers at the damaged plant to accumulate a maximum of 100 millisieverts over five years. A dose of 100 millisieverts over a year is seen as enough to raise the risk of cancer.

But in October 2015, a health ministry panel ruled that the man’s illness was workplace-related and that he was eligible for compensation.

“While the causal link between his exposure to radiation and his illness is unclear, we certified him from the standpoint of worker compensation,” a health ministry official said at the time.

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There has been heated debate about the dangers of radiation from the plant

The man is now suing Tepco and the Kyushu Electric Power Company, which operated the Genkai plant, for JPY59m ($526,000, £417,000).

“I worked there [Fukushima No 1 plant] because of my ardent desire to help bring the disaster under control but I was treated as if I was a mere expendable labourer,” Kyodo news agency quoted him as saying.

“I want Tokyo Electric to thoroughly face up to its responsibility.”

When he filed the suit late last year, his lawyers said he had been “forced to undergo unnecessary radiation exposure because of the utilities’ slipshod on-site radiation management”.

Tepco and Kyushu Electric have asked the court to reject the suit, questioning the link between his radiation exposure and leukaemia, Kyodo reported.

Tens of thousands of workers have been employed at the Fukushima site since the disaster in March 2011. Late last year the government said estimates of clean-up costs had doubled to JPY21.5 trillion ($188bn, £150bn).

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38843691

Ex-worker during Fukushima disaster sues Tepco, Kyushu Electric over leukemia

A former nuclear worker who developed leukemia after combating the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis demanded ¥59 million (around $524,000) in damages from two utilities Thursday at his first trial hearing at the Tokyo District Court.

The 42-year-old man from Fukuoka Prefecture is the first person to be recognized by labor authorities as having an illness linked to workplace radiation exposure since the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The man-made disaster was triggered by the huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

I worked there because of my ardent desire to help bring the disaster under control but I was treated as if I was a mere expendable laborer,” the plaintiff said.

I want Tokyo Electric to thoroughly face up to its responsibility,” he said.

The defendants, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., which runs Fukushima No. 1, and Kyushu Electric Power Co., whose Genkai nuclear plant also employed the plaintiff, asked the court to reject the claim, questioning the connection between his radiation exposure and leukemia.

The man was engaged in welding operations at the Fukushima Nos. 1 and 2 plants and the Genkai complex in Saga Prefecture from October 2011 to December 2013. His exposure in operations subcontracted by the utilities consisted of at least 19.8 millisieverts, according to his written complaint.

The man was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in January 2014 and later went into depression. Both ailments are recognized as work-related illnesses by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

He said he has been unable to go back to work and is therefore seeking compensation from the utilities.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/02/national/crime-legal/ex-worker-fukushima-disaster-sues-tepco-kyushu-electric-leukemia/#.WJPQ-_LraM8

7 Times More Leukemia in 2015 than 2014, 80% in Eastern Japan

Warning, this is not the result of an official study but the findings of the personal study of Kikko, a blogger who took as a base the number of hospitalized patients. But again we cannot expect the Japanese government to officially advertize it: “The number of patients diagnosed with leukemia in 2015 was about 7 times higher than the previous year.”

 

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From June 2015

Sharp increase in leukemia patients ~ Number of patients is about 7 times more than last year ~ Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Tokyo

According to the statistics of the National Public Medical Association from the hospitals of each prefecture, from April to October 2015, the number of patients diagnosed as “leukemia” was about seven times higher than in 2014.

About 60% or more of patients diagnosed with leukemia are acute leukemia,
Since 1978 when they began taking statistics, such high proportion never occured before.

About 80% of the patients are in the Tohoku and Kanto regions. Fukushima Prefecture is the largest, next, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Tokyo in that order.

Strontium 90 is the most probable cause. It acts inside the body as calcium so that it can be stored in bones and brain. It takes 2-3 years until symptoms develop. People inhaling it or ingesting it in foods such as milk, fish and meat.

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/kawachikakekomian/13334773.html

http://ameblo.jp/64152966/entry-12045183016.html

Cancer patient compensated for Fukushima work to sue TEPCO

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Damage from an explosion remains at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s No. 4 reactor building in March 2013.

A 42-year-old man diagnosed with leukemia after working at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant plans to sue Tokyo Electric Power Co., saying the utility failed to take adequate precautions against radiation exposure.

He will also sue Kyushu Electric Power Co., operator of the Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture where he had also worked, in the lawsuit expected to be filed at the Tokyo District Court on Nov. 22.

The man, who is from Kita-Kyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture, will demand about 59 million yen ($541,000) in total compensation from the two utilities.

TEPCO and Kyushu Electric, as the managers of the facilities, are responsible for the health of workers there, but they failed to take adequate measures to protect them from radiation exposure,” said one of the lawyers representing him.

The man was forced to undergo unnecessary radiation exposure because of the utilities’ slipshod on-site radiation management, and as a result had to face danger to his life and fear of death,” the lawyer said.

The lawyers group said the man has a strong case, citing a ruling by labor authorities in October 2015 that recognized a correlation between his leukemia and his work in response to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

It was the first time cancer was ruled work-related among people who developed the disease after working at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The planned lawsuit will be the first legal action against TEPCO brought by an individual whose work-related compensation claim has already been granted.

Between October 2011 and December 2013, the man worked at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to set up a cover on the damaged No. 4 reactor building and perform other tasks.

The man also did regular maintenance jobs at the Genkai plant.

His accumulative radiation exposure at the two plants came to about 20 millisieverts.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201611180052.html

Worker’s leukemia deemed result of his work at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant granted compensation

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Workers in protective gear at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in February

Man’s leukemia deemed result of his work at Fukushima plant

The labor ministry said a man who developed leukemia by helping in clean-up efforts at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is entitled to work-related compensation.

It marks the second such case since the 2011 nuclear disaster.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare recognized that the cancer was due to exposure to radiation at the facility and said the government will cover his medical expenses.

The ministry said Aug. 19 that the man, who is in his 50s, was involved in removing debris and repairing machinery that handled radioactive water at the plant between April 2011, a month after the triple meltdown triggered by the earthquake and tsunami disaster, and January 2015.

His accumulative radiation exposure was 54.4 millisieverts.

The man worked for a contractor with Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the nuclear complex.

He was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2015, and filed application for worker’s accident compensation at the Fukushima Labor Standards Inspection Office, a regional branch of the ministry.

Under the ministry’s guidelines, eligibility for work-related compensation in such cases is granted if leukemia is diagnosed after the person worked for more than a year in an assignment which resulted in an annual dose of more than 5 millisieverts.

The ministry’s decision to grant compensation in this case came after a panel of experts offered their opinions on the matter.

The ministry is scrutinizing the cases of five other former workers at the plant who have applied for compensation.

Compensation in such cases was first granted last October after a man in his early 40s was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2014. He was exposed to 16 millisieverts of radiation while he worked at the plant between 2012 and 2013.

Applications for the work-related compensation as a result of the Fukushima disaster are expected to increase in coming years, experts say.

According to TEPCO, those who had annual does of more than 5 millisieverts of radiation during fiscal 2015 numbered 4,952.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608200036.html

Fukushima worker with cancer granted compensation

Japan’s labor ministry has certified that a former worker at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is eligible for compensation for developing leukemia.
The man in his 50s had worked at the plant for nearly 4 years since April 2011, soon after the compound suffered a meltdown.
The ministry says the man was in charge of mechanical repairs at the plant. It says he developed leukemia in January last year, and applied for workers’ compensation.
Ministry officials say the man’s radiation exposure has reached 54.4 millisieverts, and that they found no other plausible causes except his work.
He is the 2nd person to be awarded compensation in connection with the accident, following a case last October involving another man with leukemia.
In all, 14 nuclear plant workers in Japan have been granted compensation for work-related cancer.
About 47,000 people have worked at the Fukushima plant in the 5 years since the accident.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160819_25/