Plant caused cancer?: Fukushima Worker Radiation

Published: October 20, 2015

Plant caused cancer?: Fukushima Worker Radiation, A former Fukushima nuclear plant worker has been diagnosed with radiation-linked cancer, Japanese officials say, the first such confirmation more than four years after the worst atomic accident in a generation.

A health ministry official said the unnamed man, who was in his 30s while working at the plant following the 2011 crisis, has leukaemia. He is now 41, local media reported.

The announcement will likely further inflame widespread public opposition to nuclear power, and could frustrate efforts to resettle evacuees in communities around the crippled Fukushima plant that have been deemed safe.

It also comes less than a week after the controversial restarting of a second reactor in Japan following the shutdown of all the country’s reactors in the wake of the crisis.

“This person went to see a doctor because he was not feeling well. That was when he was diagnosed with leukaemia,” a health ministry official told a press briefing, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official added that other possible causes of the illness had been ruled out.

The official revealed few details about the man, but said he had worked at a destroyed building that housed one of the plant’s crippled reactors.

The man, who wore protective equipment during more than a year spent at Fukushima, will be awarded compensation to pay for his medical costs and lost income, the official said, without elaborating on the amount.

Three similar cases of cancer in plant workers are still awaiting confirmation of a link to the accident.

Public broadcaster NHK said about 45,000 people have worked at the Fukushima plant since the accident as part of a massive, multi-billion-dollar clean-up.

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