(Subscription Only) Title: Nuclear power plants: A hidden world of untruths, unethical behavior
Source: Asahi AJW
Author: Compiled from reports by Miki Aoki, Toshio Tada and Tamiyuki Kihara
Date: August 06, 2012
The long and the short of it is this: Nuclear power plants probably would not operate properly in Japan if workers were not willing to sacrifice their health, and possibly their lives.
It emerges that workers at nuclear plants routinely resorted to ingenious ways to conceal the true levels of radiation to which they were exposed–simply to go on earning a living.
That is the disturbing picture that emerges from accounts given by more than 10 people, either working at nuclear power plants or now retired.
They came out of the woodwork after The Asahi Shimbun reported in late July that a senior executive of a subcontractor to Tokyo Electric Power Co. ordered workers to cover dosimeters with lead plates to keep measured radiation doses at low levels.
While it is troubling that workers hid their dosimeters while working at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where radiation levels soared after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami last year, it is now clear that such practices have been in place for years, if not decades.
One man in his 30s who is employed at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant recalled looking into the back seat of a vehicle parked within the complex in May and finding about 20 sets of items that every worker normally carries.
Each set consisted of a dosimeter that displays radiation exposure levels for that day, a badge-type dosimeter that measures accumulated radiation exposure levels over a longer period, as well as the IDs for the workers. The man peeked into the vehicle three hours later and noticed the gear was still in the back seat. He concluded that workers clocked in at the nuclear plant without their dosimeters.
He cited similar instances on five subsequent occasions.
A man in his 40s echoed his colleague’s comments. He said that between March and April, there were 10 occasions when he noticed 10 sets of such items placed in a vehicle within the same parking lot.
Published: August 6th, 2012 at 12:33 pm ET