Three workers at Japan`s N-plant exposed to radiation

Last Updated: Friday, March 25, 2011 - 00:40

Tokyo/Fukushima: Three workers were on Thursday
exposed to high radiation at Japan`s troubled Fukushima
nuclear plant, as authorities mulled plans to import bottled
water amid a panicked rush to buy it after the tap water here
was briefly declared unfit for infants due to contamination.

More countries, including Russia, Australia and Canada,
shunned food imports from Japan, where the devastating March
11 earthquake of magnitude 9 and tsunami left over 26,000
people dead or unaccounted for.

The three affected workers at the crippled Fukushima
plant, 220 kms from Tokyo, were laying cable at the No.3
reactor`s turbine building when they were exposed to high
radiation. Two of them were hospitalised due to injuries to
their legs.

They were exposed to 170-180 millisievert of radiation,
the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said, adding that two
of the workers had their feet under water while laying the
cable, Kyodo reported.

The radiation exposure level was lower than the maximum
limit of 250 millisievert set by the Health Ministry for
workers tackling the crisis at the Fukushima plant.

Authorities detected radiation levels considered to be
unsafe for infants to drink at several purification plants
outside Tokyo, local officials said, a day after the tap water
in Japanese capital was declared unsafe for babies due to
radioactive iodine.

However, Tokyo officials` latest survey showed that the
radiation levels dropped to 79 becquerels from 210 becequerels
at a purification plant in Kanamachi district, prompting them
to say that they would no longer warn against consumption of
tap water in the metropolitan area.

Japanese authorities also stepped up their efforts to
increase the supply of bottled water in light of the drawn-out
crisis at the quake-hit nuclear power plant, as stores in
Tokyo were running out of the commodity.

Chiba Prefectural officials said they detected traces of
radioactive iodine at about twice the stipulated safe limit
for infants in water taken from two purification plants in
Matsudo yesterday.

Local officials there recommended residents not give tap
water to infants as levels of iodine-131 rose to 220
becquerels per one litre of water at one of its purification
plants and 180 becquerels at another facility.

The city of Kawaguchi in Saitama Prefecture said the
iodine level rose to 120 becquerels per litre of water at its
treatment facility on Tuesday, adding that the levels today
have stayed below the limit of 100 becquerels for infants.
However, Kawaguchi officials said tap water in the city is
safe enough and they would not issue a warning on its
consumption.

PTI

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, March 25, 2011 - 00:40

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