Title: On Location: The dirty work of cleaning up Fukushima (Video)
Author: Justin McCurry and Michael Condon
Date: March 21, 2013 06:01
Tamura, 15.5 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi plant
[...] The biggest radiological cleanup the world has ever seen [...]
“The worst part about this job is that the radiation levels just won’t go down,” said Shigeru Watanabe, a decontamination worker. “Sometimes we have to dig 5 cm [2 inches], sometimes 10 cm. We have to get the readings down to 0.23 microsieverts per hour … but achieving that will be really tough. [...]
One laborer who asked to be identified only by his last name, Nakamura [...] worries about radiation. He underwent a check using a full body counter at the start of his two-month contract, and then again when it ended. But the company has yet to tell him his readings, despite repeated requests. When he left, the dosimeter Nakamura had worn around his neck to measure cumulative external exposure was taken away. He still doesn’t know the readings stored inside the device.
“If I become ill at some point, I’ll have no evidence of my cumulative radiation dose to offer as proof that I worked in a dangerous environment,” he said.
Nakamura said he and the other members of his crew – protected only by thick surgical masks, regular overalls and gloves – worked long days collecting leaves and feeding them into a huge cutting machine. Radiation levels near the machine were almost four times higher than the 0.23 microsievert an hour target the government has set for members of the public. [...]
Published: March 21st, 2013 at 12:59 pm ET