Fukushima cleanup suspended after worker’s death
The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, TEPCO, suspended the cleanup at the facility after one of the workers died while digging a ditch Friday.
28 March, 2014
The Fukushima operator didn’t announce the man’s name or his direct employer, only saying that he reported up to Toso Fudosan Kanri Company, a first-tier contractor under TEPCO.
Friday’s fatality was the fifth death among the workers involved in the cleanup operation at the Fukushima plant. According to TEPCO, three people have died from heart attacks and one died from leukemia.
The company said that none of the deaths were related to radiation exposure as the workers are thoroughly monitored and removed from duty after reaching an annual radiation limit.
Men wearing protective suits and masks work in front of welding storage tanks for radioactive water, under construction in the J1 area at the Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma in Fukushima prefecture (AFP Photo / Toru Hanai)
An investigation by Reuters last year revealed widespread labor abuses at Fukushima, with workers speaking of lack of scrutiny over working conditions inside the plant and their payments being skimmed.
An earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which is situated just 220 kilometers away from capital Tokyo, on March 11, 2011.
Three reactors at the facility went into meltdown and exploded causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
The contamination of water, food and air in the area forces over 160,000 residents to flee from nearby towns and villages.