Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Japan Medicine

32,000 Workers At Fukushima No. 1 Got High Radiation Dose, Tepco Data Show (japantimes.co.jp) 215

mdsolar writes: A total of 32,760 workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant had an annual radiation dose exceeding 5 millisieverts as of the end of January, according to an analysis of Tokyo Electric Power Co. data. A reading of 5 millisieverts is one of the thresholds of whether nuclear plant workers suffering from leukemia can be eligible for compensation benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses. Of those workers, 174 had a cumulative radiation dose of more than 100 millisieverts, a level considered to raise the risk of dying after developing cancer by 0.5 percent. Most of the exposure appears to have stemmed from work just after the start of the crisis on March 11, 2011. The highest reading was 678.8 millisieverts.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

32,000 Workers At Fukushima No. 1 Got High Radiation Dose, Tepco Data Show

Comments Filter:
  • In the US nuclear workers have a yearly limit of 50 mSv

  • by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @02:58PM (#51654477) Journal

    Just being alive exposes you to about 4 mSv a year of background radiation.

    • by Nutria ( 679911 )

      But, but, but... OMG RADIATION!!!!!!!!

      For Christ's sake. 174 people got enough radiation that 1:200 people might die of leukemia.

    • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:09PM (#51654569)
      Relevant XKCD for comparisons of radiation levels:
      https://xkcd.com/radiation/ [xkcd.com]
    • Just being dead exposes you to about the same.
    • by fhage ( 596871 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @04:27PM (#51655077)
      Psshaw... around Denver, we get about 11 mSv/yr because we live on top of a big uranium deposit. Radioactive Radon is everywhere!

      In Boulder where I grew up, the kids fishing pond was made from the abandoned settling ponds of an old mill.

      In the late 1960's, the DOE did an aerial survey for lost plutonium from the nearby Rocky Flats Weapons plant after a bad fire at the plant.

      All those little hills around the pond that we sat on as we fished were tailings from the Radium mill and were pretty hot.

      So, far I've received over 500 mSV from living in this radioactive heaven hole.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Depending on where you live. Some places have noticeably higher or lower background radiation level. Denver is supposed to have a background level of 6 mSv/year or higher.

  • Still better than thinking that should be a bit more!

  • Disaster (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:02PM (#51654519)

    Employees who work at a nuclear reactor during and immediately after a meltdown should get their healthcare and compensation for life, no questions asked We are asking them to stay and potentially risk horrifying deaths in order to give the public surrounding them time to evacuate; it is a heroic sacrifice for the good of the community and should be built into the cost and risk model of power companies installing nuclear plants.

    • in the usa will need to get on the SSI/SSDI list to get that and your income can only go so high before you get kicked off of that.

    • Employees who work at a nuclear reactor during and immediately after a meltdown should get their healthcare and compensation for life, no questions asked We are asking them to stay and potentially risk horrifying deaths in order to give the public surrounding them time to evacuate; it is a heroic sacrifice for the good of the community and should be built into the cost and risk model of power companies installing nuclear plants.

      "horrifying deaths"? I think you've seen too many science fiction movies.

    • Re:Disaster (Score:4, Insightful)

      by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer@@@earthlink...net> on Monday March 07, 2016 @06:24PM (#51655699)

      Employees who work at a nuclear reactor during and immediately after a meltdown should get their healthcare and compensation for life, no questions asked

      Wait, I have a question. Would these people still get free healthcare and compensation if they CAUSED the meltdown? What if they didn't cause it but were merely negligent in preventing the meltdown? What if they were an employee working on site but in a building far from the reactor and had no increase in exposure and did nothing to assist in the recovery effort except something trivial, like emptying the wastebaskets from the offices?

      Here's a better question. Why don't we build nuclear power plants that simply cannot meltdown? Perhaps this is impossible based on differing opinions on what is considered a meltdown. We do know how to build safe nuclear power plants but the Department of Energy has been sitting on their hands in allowing people to construct demonstration plants so that their safety can be proven. Instead the DOE does study after study, spending all kinds of money on engineers to look at drawings and simulations, expecting to see a design too safe to fail.

      There are probably a dozen companies in the USA, and at least that many more world wide, with nuclear reactor designs that would be much safer than the plants we have now but no one is permitted to actually prove they can work with a real and honest working prototype. Build some prototypes big enough to prove the concept but small enough to contain, put in double safety systems, and turn them on. Test them, abuse them, make them fail. After we've seen how they can fail we can build systems to contain the radiation threat. Simulations are worthless unless you have real world data for comparison. This is why we build cars in CAD and then once built we launch a few of them into a wall to see how they crumple up.

      I had someone tell me, who at least claimed to be an engineer, that we should not build any new nuclear reactors until we prove they are safe. I asked, how do you prove anything until one is built? Which I guess is the point, he did not want to see any nuclear reactors built. Which is also what I believe the DOE is doing. No one in the DOE wants to sign off on a nuclear reactor since if anything goes wrong then they will be blamed for it. In the mean time we are burning coal at an incredible rate.

      If you think nuclear power is dangerous then compare it to anything else on a megawatt-hour produced to deaths metric and you tell me who is killing more people, is it the nuclear power industry or the DOE for keeping more nuclear power from us?

    • So far, one person working on this has been diagnosed with Leukemia thought to be from exposure to radiation during this crisis. Given the size of the group, the years that have passed and the makeup of the group, this is really low. In fact, in a group this size, over a decade, the expected number of leukemia cases is five. So, if we go by the typical statistical logic of the people infected with radiation-hysteria, being exposed to the type of radiation released during the Fukushima incident reduces your

  • CT Scan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:03PM (#51654527) Homepage Journal
    That is the equivalent of a single CT Scan.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      No, it isn't. A CT scan is a one time exposure. The workers at Fukushima used air filters, but even so some of that material ended up in their bodies. That's why it's far more dangerous than a CT scan.

      It's impressive that of the thousands of people at the plant, so few were badly exposed. Those who were are heroes.

      • Re:CT Scan (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:30PM (#51654699) Homepage Journal
        No, it is less dangerous than a CT Scan. A CT scan penetrates deep into your tissue (that is what it is for). What is impressive is that there was only 5 mSv of exposure. You get 4 mSv from just plain living on Earth, less if you live in your Mom's basement like I do.
        • Depends. If your mum's basement is in somewhere formerly volcanic like Cornwall, it's probably worse than standing above ground.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          No, it's far more dangerous than a CT scan. The stuff emitted gets inside the body (e.g. dust, hence the need for filtration masks and protective suits) and irradiates organs indefinitely.

          Unfortunately the equipment doesn't provide perfect protection and most workers were not wearing the full kit anyway.

        • less if you live in your Mom's basement like I do.

          Actually you typically get more radiation exposure in your basement than anywhere else.

        • In many basement gas cumulate. Mostly due to lack of circulating air. While it is not a problem in most region, if your region has granitic grounds (rather than say clay or calcifer) then chance are that minutes quantity of radon infiltrate your basement and cumulate to the point that you have to check them for radon and clean it up if radon cumulate. Example : limoge in france has a radon problem and you can read story there of people basement being so full of radon as to endanger greatly people with lung
    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      A CT scan is 30mSv. Also, a CT scan is a single large dosage instead of a low dosage over a long period of time.

      • Re:CT Scan (Score:4, Informative)

        by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @05:19PM (#51655361)

        A CT scan is 30mSv. Also, a CT scan is a single large dosage instead of a low dosage over a long period of time.

        No it's not. Your information is extremely outdated. The highest dosage you get from a CT scan is for cardiac function imaging. It's because you need to look the heart during several different points through the cardiac cycle.

        On a typical 64-slice CT scanner the dosage is 5 to 10mSv for a cardiac function scan. That's going to be the highest dosage as any scanner with less than a 64-slice detector array will give unusable images and a very high radiation dosage. Almost no one is using these for cardiac imaging. A 64 slice CT scanner is very versatile, but not good for cardiac imaging.

        Most hospitals are using 256 and 320 slice CT scanners for cardiac imaging currently. And 640 slice scanners are now out in the wild. Rather than needing to spin the array in a continuous helical motion, the high slice scanners can image the entire heart in a single rotation. A 256 or 320 slice scanner can do a cardiac scan with 1 to 2mSv exposure.

        There's also dose reduction software. It allows the radiation dosage to be lower and give lower quality images, then clean them up in software after the scan. If you're getting a CT scan for anything other than the heart and it's going to be higher than 1mSv, go somewhere else. And unless there is some reason you need to have the scan done in a CT, such as a non-MRI safe pace maker or other hardware, there's very little need to have this type of scan done. Other than a very specific type of scan, no CT scan should be above 1 mSv.

  • by blueshift_1 ( 3692407 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:03PM (#51654533)
    I'm going to go with there's an issue with units here. The mSv of the highest does is 64,000 (or 64 Sv).
  • Four parts to this. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jd ( 1658 )

    First, I am STILL waiting for an apology from those Slashdotters who insisted at the time there was no meltdown.

    Second, we've known for a long time that there was a high level of incompetence resulting in excessive exposure to radiation. I'm not sure what new information is being included here.

    Third, I am much more concerned about the reported design flaw in ALL U.S. reactors that could result in meltdowns. Fukushima, although tragic, is in the past. We should learn from it by studying it closely, but there

    • Excited about fusion too. But... Looks like renewables will come in quickly owing to low cost and some new math. https://100.org/wp-content/cac... [100.org] Perhaps Alaska will go for fusion.
    • If you're talking about the article from last week when you are talking about "the reported design flaw in ALL U.S. reactors" that is literally a problem with any three-phase electrical system that can be solved by spending a day with an electrician installing a phase-detecting relay. It can be fixed relatively easy without deleting 20% of the generation capacity in the US, or spending hundreds of billions in construction costs.

      That being said, the issue deserves the attention of regulators, and should be

  • I don't think it was actually 32,767 workers... I think its actually -1 on a 16-bit-system.

  • Where did the missing 7 go?
  • by Prune ( 557140 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:15PM (#51654617)
    The firehose voting is not enough. There are too few people voting on firehose article, making it more open to abuse by those with multiple sockpuppet accounts. There should be a way to downvote articles on the front page, and a karma-like score pre-applied to those people's firehose submissions.

    Why this submissions is flamebait anti-nuclear energy FUD:
    - 5 mSv is background radiation and is a ridiculously low threshold
    - 50 mSv is the standard in places like the US
    - of those 174 workers exposed to the highest radiation dose, we can expect that one will get cancer -- pretty damn good for what's supposed to be one of the worst nuclear disasters!
    - in comparison, how many people got killed by the total lifetime (production to decommission) per energy generated by mdsolar's preferred methods? here's where nuclear stands in comparison: http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/... [nextbigfuture.com]
    Of course, those that have been here for a while already knew this submission was going to be utter bullshit the moment we saw who posted it.
    • - of those 174 workers exposed to the highest radiation dose, we can expect that one will get cancer -- pretty damn good for what's supposed to be one of the worst nuclear disasters!

      No, we can expect NONE will get cancer, or at least statistically there will be no more cancers than if they were not exposed.. The already low risk of getting cancer is increased by 0.5%. So if the risk of cancer is 8%, the new risk is now 8.04%

    • by Orgasmatron ( 8103 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @04:11PM (#51654961)

      Several of them will get cancer anyway. We expect one extra to get cancer.

      But even that is bullshit, since that is based on a model called "Linear, No Threshold" or LNT [wikipedia.org].

      At large doses, ibuprofen will kill you. I've got a bottle of 160 pills in my desk drawer, which should be plenty. According to LNT, since 160 pills at once into one person would cause one death, one pill each into 160 people would also cause one death. So if I gave one pill, one time, to 160 of the Fukushima workers, one more than normal of them would die of liver failure eventually.

      Where the analogy breaks down is that in reality, everyone would be getting 1 to 10 ibuprofen pills per day from their environment, and the people living and working in places with higher natural doses get less liver failure. (See hormesis [wikipedia.org])

  • by oh2 ( 520684 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:16PM (#51654621) Homepage Journal
    50 mSv is an allowed maximum yearly dose for workers in a radiation environment. At least here in Sweden you can get ordered to take 100 mSv in an emergency (or wartime), and then another 100 if neccessary, and so on up to a maximum of 500. Of course, thats if there is no other option. 5 mSv is, as many others have said, not very much. Hell, its less than medical techs get every year.
    • by jd ( 1658 )

      This explains the "50 mSv" claim. It's actually not quite what is represented by the industry.

      https://hps.org/publicinformat... [hps.org]

    • A perhaps unrelated question, if medical techs get 100 mSv per year for operating X-ray machines and doing bone scans then how does that compare to the exposure of a TSA agent operating a RapeScan machine?

  • by SummitCO ( 1043824 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:23PM (#51654661)

    There sure are some scary comparisons of doses and suggestions of risk without any references in the TFA.

    The problem with many exposure limits and risk estimates is that they are all based on the worst case scenario, ultraconservative exposure model: linear no-threshold (LNT). Basically, this model we created in the 1940s assumes that all radiation is bad and more is worse in with a linear dose to risk relationship.

    However, there is not much evidence to support this simplistic model, which is what NRC uses to establish dose limits! We've known it is wrong for a long time. There is evidence that other models, specifically radiation hormesis, are correct. We won't change anything policywise because imagine the gnashing of teeth from the Greens when the newspaper article reads "Government loosens radiation rules! FEAR!"

    But radiation hormesis is supported by the evidence. It suggests that below a certain level, radiation stimulates cellular and DNA repair mechanisms so that there is an opitmal dose of radiation that is ABOVE zero and that only when you go high on a dose in a given time (threshold) does the damage outweigh the stimulated benefits, but the response may be nonlinear for dose vs risk after the threshold.

    Here are just two of the more recent articles on the subject (research goes back a LONG time)

    2009, "The Linear No-Threshold Relationship Is Inconsistent with Radiation Biologic and Experimental Data" Radiology
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm... [nih.gov]

    2013, "Linear No-Threshold Model VS. Radiation Hormesis"
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm... [nih.gov]

    Other fun pieces of information:
    A chest X-ray is ~1.5mSv.
    An abdominal Cat Scan (CT) is usually 10-20mSv per study.
    Natural radiation exposure for Denver, CO (5280ft): 12mSv per year.

    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:56PM (#51654891)

      Natural radiation exposure for Denver, CO (5280ft): 12mSv per year.

      It gets better...

      Naturally occurring background radiation is the main source of exposure for most people, and provides some perspective on radiation exposure from nuclear energy. The average dose received by all of us from background radiation is around 2.4 mSv/yr, which can vary depending on the geology and altitude where people live â" ranging between 1 and 10 mSv/yr, but can be more than 50 mSv/yr. The highest known level of background radiation affecting a substantial population is in Kerala and Madras states in India where some 140,000 people receive doses which average over 15 millisievert per year from gamma radiation, in addition to a similar dose from radon. Comparable levels occur in Brazil and Sudan, with average exposures up to about 40 mSv/yr to many people. (The highest level of natural background radiation recorded is on a Brazilian beach: 800 mSv/yr, but people donâ(TM)t live there.)Several places are known in Iran, India and Europe where natural background radiation gives an annual dose of more than 100 mSv to people and up to 260 mSv (at Ramsar in Iran, where some 200,000 people are exposed to more than 10 mSv/yr). Lifetime doses from natural radiation range up to several thousand millisievert. However, there is no evidence of increased cancers or other health problems arising from these high natural levels. The millions of nuclear workers that have been monitored closely for 50 years have no higher cancer mortality than the general population but have had up to ten times the average dose. People living in Colorado and Wyoming have twice the annual dose as those in Los Angeles, but have lower cancer rates. Source [world-nuclear.org]

      5 mSv is the additional annual exposure of your typical aircraft crew flying North American routes. Since that industry routinely hits that threshold, shall we shut it down too?

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @04:50PM (#51655201)

        Natural radiation exposure for Denver, CO (5280ft): 12mSv per year.

        It gets better...

        Naturally occurring background radiation is the main source of exposure for most people, and provides some perspective on radiation exposure from nuclear energy. The average dose received by all of us from background radiation is around 2.4 mSv/yr, which can vary depending on the geology and altitude where people live â" ranging between 1 and 10 mSv/yr, but can be more than 50 mSv/yr. The highest known level of background radiation affecting a substantial population is in Kerala and Madras states in India where some 140,000 people receive doses which average over 15 millisievert per year from gamma radiation, in addition to a similar dose from radon. Comparable levels occur in Brazil and Sudan, with average exposures up to about 40 mSv/yr to many people. (The highest level of natural background radiation recorded is on a Brazilian beach: 800 mSv/yr, but people donâ(TM)t live there.)Several places are known in Iran, India and Europe where natural background radiation gives an annual dose of more than 100 mSv to people and up to 260 mSv (at Ramsar in Iran, where some 200,000 people are exposed to more than 10 mSv/yr). Lifetime doses from natural radiation range up to several thousand millisievert. However, there is no evidence of increased cancers or other health problems arising from these high natural levels. The millions of nuclear workers that have been monitored closely for 50 years have no higher cancer mortality than the general population but have had up to ten times the average dose. People living in Colorado and Wyoming have twice the annual dose as those in Los Angeles, but have lower cancer rates. Source [world-nuclear.org]

        5 mSv is the additional annual exposure of your typical aircraft crew flying North American routes. Since that industry routinely hits that threshold, shall we shut it down too?

        Well of course background radiation can be tolerated to much higher levels because it is natural. Processed, highly concentrated radiation from nuclear power plants is much more dangerous.

        • Well of course background radiation can be tolerated to much higher levels because it is natural. Processed, highly concentrated radiation from nuclear power plants is much more dangerous.

          I wouldn't say much more dangerous. This debate continues in the International Commission on Radiation Protection under the topic of Dose to Dose Rate Effectiveness Factor (DDREF) [icrp.org]. In general, high dose rate, shorter exposure times are considered twice as dangerous, so if you got 10 mSv in one hour, it would be considered 20 mSv. All of the doses that these recommendations were made on were based on their admittedly scant data for lower exposures; you'd need 500 mSv at a minimum to start correlating to ac

  • by Mike Van Pelt ( 32582 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:24PM (#51654667)
    I do not care what fevered notions pass through the brain of mdsolar. Nothing he has to say has the slightest relevance; he's an endless spewer of anti-nuke propaganda. I want to never see anything by him ever again.

    On Usenet, I had "Kill files" that could trim the idiots out of my newsfeed. Can we get something similar on Slashdot? Please? Pleeeeease???

  • Even with the past accidents, "N-power" is statistically safer than the fossil-fuel (FF) alternatives. This is largely because FF causes a general lung cancer increase, and other ailments such as asthma.

    N-power seems scarier in part because the deaths and illness tend to be sporadic, typically once-a-decade kinds of accidents, while FF death and illness is more or less constant: low-level but ever-present.

    It seems political "safer" to spread the risk evenly rather than have occasional accidents that attract

    • "if you rip a few pennies off from tens of thousands of people you are less likely to be noticed than if you rip thousands off from a few."

      Great, now come up with a way to fix the entire planet so this is no longer true, and you're off to the races. Let me know when you're ready.

  • How I read the title.

    [32,000 Workers At Fukushima.] [No one Got High Radiation Dose, Tepco Data Show.]

    That sounds like really good news.

  • by fizzup ( 788545 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:38PM (#51654765)

    Duration of exposure matters, of course, but one should always keep in mind this rule: one sievert is dangerous. It's not always fatal, but sometimes it is. Some corollaries:

    • A factor of 100 less (10 mSv) does not matter
    • A factor of 10 less (100 mSv) is risky.
    • A factor of 10 more (10 Sv) is almost always fatal.
    • A factor of 100 more (100 Sv) means irradiating a corpse.

    The fellow who got dosed with nearly 700 mSv has my sympathy and gratitude. The mantle of leadership and duty falls where it falls, and we all owe a debt to the ones who bear the burden.

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Monday March 07, 2016 @03:49PM (#51654839) Homepage Journal

    So in a disaster area a nuclear power plant can cause some radiation leakage and it affects the people who work there. Ok.

    Under normal operating conditions the Sun causes cancer [wcrf.org] and kills people with Renewable Solar Radiation!!!!! [aimatmelanoma.org]

    Headline: SUN CAUSES CANCER AND KILLS MILLIONS OF PEOPLE!!!

    From WHO [who.int]:

    Currently, between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year. One in every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer and, according to Skin Cancer Foundation Statistics, one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

    In 2012 alone 232,000 people had new incidents of melanoma, and 55,000 people died from it. [wikipedia.org]

    The SUN is MURDERING people! We need to find safer methods to produce energy, I suggest nuclear.

  • I suppose 32,000 is a lot more impressive than 176 received a significant dose and 1 a concerning dose.

  • This is Slashdot. Why has no one pointed out how close to a power of two the number of irradiated workers is?

  • "32,000 Workers At Fukushima No. 1 "

    Stop right there: there were 32,000 Workers At Fukushima No. 1?

    • If it takes 32,000 workers to run a plant I can see why nuclear has trouble being cost effective.

    • by rMortyH ( 40227 )

      Yeah, that's crazy. What were they all doing?
      They could have just shut down the reactor and had them all pedal!

  • I predict a polite slashdot discussion with well-thought out posts and and properly researched and cited information.

    Oh who am I kidding...

  • Most of posts here are quite rightly burying mdsolar as the biased shill (s)he is. 5 mSv is zip, nada, nothing...
    @Whipslash, please ban the idiot.
    Tim, get with the program and stop falling for this crap, even if it's good for a bunch of flaming posts.

    The only counter-rant I will offer is that this information purports to come from TepCo and....they've been proven many times to be completely full of shit.
    So, yea, voting conflicted on this one,

    • Ban MDsolar: Yes please.

      BUT WHAT IF TEPCO IS LYING OMGZ?!?!?!

      Yeah, maybe they are, but Tepco could lie about the sun coming up every morning and it wouldn't be a justification to not ban mdsolar.

  • ...which always comes up with 1000 dead for the smallest release of radioactives because they apply a teeny number to billions of people...this news is that the Fukishima incident has almost certainly released enough radiation that somebody will die who would not have done so had Fukishima never melted down.
    Maybe even two people!
    Meanwhile, Japan had some 16,000 dead from the other seismic deaths, and over 20,000 died prematurely in the USA last year from the effect of coal-fired power generation on their br

  • Last year tens of thousands of people were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation in excess of 5 milli-sieverts.

    How?

    They went on vacation to the beach in Brazil for a week or so.

    "Radiation levels are highest at Guarapari’s beaches, a popular seasonal tourist attraction, where readings of up to 175 mSv (millisieverts)) per year have been measured." Global Hot Spots [momtastic.com]
  • Did anyone else get annoyed while reading the summary that the number of workers who received (trivial) radiation doses is 32760, rather than 32768? I mean, it's so close to a very nice, round number, but not quite there.

  • 32,760 workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant >???

    does one nuclear plant really have that many workers? sheez it must take 10$$ of the plants power just to support the workers homes

Veni, Vidi, VISA: I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.

Working...