Japan acknowledges death due to radiation exposure at Fukushima nuclear power plant

For the first time, Japan has acknowledged that the death in a worker at the Fukushima nuclear power plant occurred due to radiation exposure. The power plant was destroyed in a tsunami and an earthquake around seven years back.

The earthquake had hit the region in March 2011 and was of a magnitude 9.0. It had triggered a massive tsunami that had killed nearly 18,000 people. The tsunami had also resulted in one of the world’s worst nuclear disaster by destroying the nuclear power plant and causing radiation fall out. The cooling systems of the plant in Japan’s north-east coast failed leading to leakage of the radioactive materials.

Nuclear issues in Fukushima have not been resolved yet. Image Credit: TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock
Nuclear issues in Fukushima have not been resolved yet. Image Credit: TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock

The Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry last week on Friday announced that the fifty-something year old man who died of lung cancer had succumbed primarily due to radiation exposure and ruled that compensation was due to his family. The man in question had been working at the nuclear plants all around Japan. He had worked at the Fukushima Daiichi plant that was operated by the Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO). He worked at the place twice after the earthquake in 2011 wearing protective masks and suits. His cancer was diagnosed in February 2016. The Ministry heard opinions of radiologists and other experts in the field before they announced that the family of the person should be compensated.

Four other workers at Fukushima too suffered from radiation illness due to exposure to high levels of radiation after the meltdown. This man was the first to die of the radiation exposure says the Ministry. After the meltdown at the power plant, over 160,000 people had to leave their homes near and around the region for fear of radiation exposure. There were hundreds of deaths when these individuals and their families were displaced from the region. These however were not directly caused by the radiation exposure.

At present the Tokyo Electric is facing several legal cases regarding compensation of the families of the people affected by the disaster. According to speculation in 2016, there could be a total of $200 billion in compensation from TEPCO to the families affected by the disaster.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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