Two workers exposed to high doses of beta radiation at the crisis-stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant on Aug. 28 were ignoring their dosimeter readings, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Aug. 30.
The two men were both blasted with beta radiation while they and one other worker were replacing filters on a water decontamination system at the plant — a task that requires pulling components out of the water.
TEPCO stated that they ignored the radiation count on their dosimeters and continued to do the filter replacement despite absorbing radiation doses of 23.4 and 17.1 millisieverts respectively, exceeding the 15-millisievert limit for the operation.
According to TEPCO, the men’s radiation alarms sounded when their doses exceeded the 15-millisievert maximum, but they decided to complete the task with the help of the third worker as they had very little left to do.
The utility also said the men’s radiation control manager was not present at the time. Testing revealed the third worker absorbed a 1.1-millisievert dose.
According to the TEPCO announcement of Aug. 29, tThe three men involved noticed they had gone over the 15-millisievert limit for their task on Aug. 28, but did not report it to their supervisor until the following day as they thought the exposure level was within legal limits.
“They were doing the replacement for the first time so inexperience may have played a part, but I’d like to examine whether we need to improve our procedures and equipment,” said TEPCO representative Junichi Matsumoto.
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