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2 workers at Fukushima plant hospitalized after accidentally sprayed with radioactive waste

53 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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53 Comments
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Don't start getting paranoid about this incident! It has nothing to do with the safety of the discharge!

1 ( +14 / -13 )

How does contaminated water manage to penetrate a double layer hazmat suit?

19 ( +21 / -2 )

I sure hope these guys are getting paid a fair wage. I can think of many jobs I would not want but hosing off radioactive pipes is at the top of the list

11 ( +12 / -1 )

We should encourage more of this self-reporting. The problem isn't when this occurs, the problem will be when this happens but Tepco and the government decide they aren't going to tell anyone about it.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Fortunately it seems the exposure was limited and hopefully the risks for the health of the workers is low, but it seems that TEPCO has not learned its lesson yet. These kinds of accidents are preventable and can't be excused in a company that is already under a lot of scrutiny for past failures of catastrophic consequences.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

If you are given a 'hazmat suit' that is not even waterproof, you really need to find alternative employment.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

There are different types of hazmat suits. Obviously they were not using appropriate ones.

Just a face mask is just plain stupid. A breathing air supply prevents inhalation of radioactive elements and other chemicals.

Anticipation is important. It seems not to be a part of corporate culture at TEPCO.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

It is a nuclear disaster level 7. Accidents will happen.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

PaulToday 06:56 am JST

Don't start getting paranoid about this incident! It has nothing to do with the safety of the discharge!

Fully agree. That won't stop the usual pro-CCP, anti-Japan crowd though, who will tell us the whole world will die from this.

AJToday 08:32 am JST

We should encourage more of this self-reporting. The problem isn't when this occurs, the problem will be when this happens but Tepco and the government decide they aren't going to tell anyone about it.

This too. TEPCO definitely wasn't trustworthy in the past, but I'd say they are now as they're being watched every single day of the week. Even if something "relatively" minor like this happens, we'll hear about it. This level of transparency isn't seen at any other plant.

virusrexToday 08:41 am JST

These kinds of accidents are preventable

I'd disagree. In an industrial environment, accidents can always happen regardless of the safety measures employed. Per the above, I think the level of safety/monitoring at Fukushima is pretty high now, but stuff like this can and will still happen sometimes.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

So the water isn't safe?

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Accidents will happen.

And they can be predicted to happen and an abundance of redundant measures can be used to prevent them from causing damage.

In practice measures should have been in place to avoid any spill of radioactive waste, then other measures to avoid any spill to directly involve workers and yet more measures to avoid involved workers to be contaminated with radiation. Each set "guaranteed" not to fail and at the same time assuming the others will fail. TEPCO obviously do not have that approach to safety.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

virusrexToday 09:54 am JST

And they can be predicted to happen and an abundance of redundant measures can be used to prevent them from causing damage.

If you believe that 100% safety is achievable, that's your opinion. I, however, would certainly disagree with that.

In the Fukushima accident, the failure of "Defense in Depth" measures (which is what, I think, you're referring to) was clearly one of the main factors. But even though this has been improved at TEPCO, I still don't believe an industrial environment can be 100% safe. And that goes for any industry, in any country.

FYI, Defense in Depth is one of the many areas that the Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee is addressing:

http://www.nrmc.jp/en/

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I am not anti japanese at all, it’s opposite. mothers testing the sea food at fukishima aren’t anti japanese. Many People who don’t want contamination are caring about japan’s future and the best interest of japan and Japanese people.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

We should encourage more of this self-reporting. The problem isn't when this occurs, the problem will be when this happens but Tepco and the government decide they aren't going to tell anyone about it.

Have to agree. Am impressed by the transparency especially in these delicate and sensitive times. This is the way.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ouch feel bad for the radioactive sprayed victims they will end up with cancer and Fukushima is a disaster and a nuclear dumpster

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

All four were wearing full face masks, and test results showed none of them had ingested radioactive particles. None have shown any health issues, according to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, or TEPCO.

sound to me it’s a cover up

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

It is sad to read the TEPCO fanboys making excuses.

I want to see those fanboys making excuses to the victims and their families in real life.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

If you believe that 100% safety is achievable, that's your opinion. I, however, would certainly disagree with that.

The goal is not to have absolute perfect safety no matter what, but at least enough measures that damage can be prevented for most troubles that are likely to happen, that obviously was not the case here.

Even if we assume proper measures against a spill were in place (which could be the case even if not mentioned) the redundancy part is terribly deficient, obviously inappropriate PPE was in use that allowed contamination of the workers to a degree that required further cleaning is something that should not be allowed.

If things were done to the international standards of safety this accident may not have happened, or even if it did it would end up as "workers sprayed with radioactive waste but without detectable exposure".

Have to agree. Am impressed by the transparency especially in these delicate and sensitive times. This is the way.

Part of the measures usually imposed after industrial disasters are mechanisms that force reporting any trouble or make it hiding it a practical impossibility.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The goal is not to have absolute perfect safety no matter what, but at least enough measures that damage can be prevented for most troubles that are likely to happen, that obviously was not the case here.

There are no dangerous industries that are free of accidents regardless of the amount of safety regulations in place. Constriction sites, farming, fishing, and mining, to name a few.

The goal is always to have zero accidents.

We don't know the full extent of this accident or how it could have been prevented. Hope TEPCO will review the procedure to ensure it is safe. A procedure that has been used for more than 10 years.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Oh my...here we go - again!?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

How can a drainage hose suddenly came off, are not these things double checked, this IS a nuclear waste plant after all? And what other safety measures are being ignored?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

We don't know the full extent of this accident or how it could have been prevented.

But the description makes it very clear a relatively common form of accident was not prevented, and a basic form of protection still allowed contamination of two of the workers, something that is not supposed to happen.

Extremely unlike situations that are failed to be considered, one or two out of 100 exposed workers ending up contaminated in spite of PPE, those are the kinds of accidents or consequences that are understandable, but something like this speaks of unjustifiable lack of care

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

to get skin burns

That's almost a worst case of exposure and doesn't make sense to say no problem even if that isn't the case.

This information lacks how harmful the sprayed water is to the human body. If the water can possibly cause skin burns the radiation level seems very high.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This information lacks how harmful the sprayed water is to the human body. If the water can possibly cause skin burns the radiation level seems very high.

Yes, "no problem", is the standard response. Same thing when deadly toxic leaked into a river in an earlier article here on JT. That was "no problem". Don't know how many here would shake off a radioactive burn wound as "no problem" if it happened to them.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Going forward TEPCO will have to change the procedure for cleaning the ALPS pipes which will include checking the draining connection. Also more waterproof suits. These jobs are done by the lowest-paid workers on the site.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan doesn't have a great safety track record at nuclear power plants. Workers exposed to radiation at the Tsuruga reactor. Accident at the Shika reactor in 1989. Tokamaira accident with two workers dead and hundreds contaminated. There have also been 'minor' incidents such as workers carrying heavy water in plastic pails, workers boots not high enough causing contamination, etc. Collusion between the energy operators and government resulted in few inspections, little enforcement of safety regulations, lax procedures. The major accident at Fukushima or another reactor was bound to happen.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Going forward TEPCO will have to change the procedure for cleaning the ALPS pipes which will include checking the draining connection. Also more waterproof suits. These jobs are done by the lowest-paid workers on the site.

That may be part of the problem, TEPCO seems to be playing loose with at least some of the safety measures simply because they are only risking the part of its workforce they can more easily dispense with.

Of course as the article proves the loss of confidence of the population for this accident may be much more costly for them.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"Which country has had the most nuclear accidents?

the US

Worldwide, many nuclear accidents and serious incidents have occurred before and since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Two-thirds of these mishaps occurred in the US. The French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) has concluded that technical innovation cannot eliminate the risk of human errors in nuclear plant operation."

0 ( +4 / -4 )

All four were wearing full face masks, and test results showed none of them had ingested radioactive particles. 

In other words, a nothingburger. But the media needs its headlines...

1 ( +7 / -6 )

The key phrase here is "TEPCO said".

I wouldn't trust them with the current time, let alone information about another human being.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

In other words, a nothingburger. But the media needs its headlines...

People can die (or develop serious diseases that will lead to disabilities) thanks to radioactivity even without having to ingest any amount, for the workers and their families this is definitely not a "nothingburger", that is just what lack of empathy may lead you to think.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Whaaaattt?? TEPCO making mistakes? Say it ain't so!

And I like how there are "no negative health effects" after but a few hours. Sheesh.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

I guess they will start hiring 'trainees' from poorer nations to work there soon.

Much like they used to hire homeless Japanese in the 1990s to do their dirty work.

I bet TEPCO's former CEO enjoyed his round of golf today though.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Foreigners can already work at the plant if they speak Japanese.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Please define "full face masks". Paper? Medical grade? Cute patterns and material? Worn below the nose, as usual, because they are uncomfortable?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

How does contaminated water manage to penetrate a double layer hazmat suit?

Without knowing anything about hazmat suits, I am going to assume two things here:

1) Hazmat suits are not impervious to everything and they cannot be. In order to just be protected against one likely danger may mean it cannot be waterproof, due to the materials used.

2) There very well may be other liquid/ penetrative material in the waste besides water, and I know of at least one chemical that can penetrate even latex gloves, AND far less than a drop will kill you slowly and horrifically over a couple of months.

The world is a complicated place and even experts have gaps in their knowledge.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Peter Neil

Today 09:47 am JST

There are different types of hazmat suits. Obviously they were not using appropriate ones.

Not even sticking to most basic protocol?

But maybe they're scrimping on hazmat costs and protection of their own people so they can make sure the water is safe when they dump it

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

A fifth worker, who was also assigned to the cleaning work, was temporarily away when the accident occurred.

Hmm

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The workers are probably temp contract workers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Anyway I'm sure this incident will not affect in any way the unshakeable faith of people in tepco.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

All accidents at the nuclear disaster site must be reported to the NRA.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Not a big deal. I got sprayed by a faulty exhaust fan sucking arsenic sludge off of a boiling container for blueing gun metal. Same issue. Spray yourself down and get back to work.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

All were wearing face masks. None had ingested the radio active water. And none had health issues. So ! What's the problem? Japan Today?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sounds like some of you never accidentally sprayed yourself with water from a garden hose. LOL

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The headline says two workers were sprayed, but the article explains that it was four workers.

All were washed down, but two of them still showed unacceptably high levels of radiation, according to the national news, and it was those remaining two who were admitted to hospital for further evaluation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm glad they reported it and are taking the master seriously. No more cover-ups

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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