Five Fukushima workers contaminated after contact with radioactive water

1 November 2023

Five workers at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP were accidentally splashed with liquid containing radioactive materials while cleaning the piping for the plant’s Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), which is used to treat contaminated water accumulated at the plant.

Two of the five workers were taken to hospital for decontamination treatment and medical observation. A doctor noted that the possibility of the two men sustaining burns due to radiation exposure was low, according to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco). No injuries to the skin were found on the exposed areas, and the two have not shown any major changes in their health.

The men were pouring nitric acid into the piping when the hose used to drain waste liquid containing radioactive substances into a tank became detached and around 100 millilitres of the fluid spilled out, Tepco said. The liquid splashed onto the five workers. They were wearing protective gear and full-face masks, which prevented ingestion of the fluid.

However, the liquid reached the skin of four workers. Despite immediate rinsing at the plant, the radiation levels of the bodies of two men did not fall below the standard threshold of 4 becquerels per square centimetre. Two workers – one in his 20s whose entire body was found to be exposed, and the other in his 40s whose lower body and both arms were confirmed to be exposed – were transported to a hospital in Fukushima city.

Image: Storage tanks for treated water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

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