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These workers will wind up with the same problems as the "liquidators" at Chernobyl. It is inexcusable, and morally and ethically wrong. Every citizen should now understand that the supporters of nuclear power are willing to sacrifice part of our human world to maintain this technology.

Janette D. Sherman, MD

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Japan to scrap workers' annual radiation dose limit at normal times
Mainichi Daily News
(Mainichi Japan)
April 28, 2011

radiation contamination screening, 03-15-11 
(AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Evacuees are screened for radiation contamination at a testing center Tuesday, March 15, 2011, in Koriyama city, Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan, four days after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the country's north east coast. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The health ministry plans to scrap the annual radiation dose limit for nuclear power plant workers at normal times for the meantime to secure enough workers for maintenance and checkups of nuclear power plants other than the crisis-hit Fukushima power station, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

Under Japanese law, nuclear workers cannot be exposed to more than 50 millisieverts in one year and more than 100 millisieverts over five years.

The ministry, however, is expected to maintain the 100-millisievert rule, as there is medical evidence that exposure to radiation exceeding 100 millisieverts could increase the risk of developing leukemia and cancer, according to the sources.

The move comes as many nuclear workers are being sent to deal with the emergency situation at the radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, although there are only 70,000 people nationwide who can engage in work at such plants.

As workers would not be able to work at other plants once they exceed their radiation dose limit by dealing with the Fukushima crisis, the industry ministry has been calling on the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to ease the limit to prevent a possible shortage of such workers.

To cope with the Fukushima crisis, the health ministry raised the legal limit on the amount of radiation to which each worker could be exposed in an emergency situation to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts on March 15. But the limit for nuclear workers at normal times was not changed.

smoke billows from Fukushima No.1 NPP, 03-22-11 (AP)
In this photo from a footage of a live camera released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), black smoke billows from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Okumamachi, northeastern Japan, on March 22, 2011. (AP)

In the United States, the limit for civilians is 100 millisieverts in an emergency situation. Civilians should not be exposed to more than 50 millisiverts annually in normal times and more than 100 millisieverts over five years.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power station, said that 30 people who worked at the plant were exposed to 100 millisieverts or more.

Copyright © Mainichi Daily News 2011. All rights reserved.
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

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