Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fukushima nuclear plant worker dies: Third so far, more to come?

A worker at Japan's disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant has died, its operator said, adding that the death was not necessarily related to radioactive leaks.

The male worker, in his 50s, was taken to hospital for treatment on Wednesday after feeling ill during a regular morning assembly at the plant, some 140 miles north of Tokyo, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).

He died early morning on Thursday at the hospital, TEPCO spokesman Chie Hosoda said, adding that the cause of his death was being investigated.

"He had been exposed to a small amount of radiation. It is difficult to assume that radiation was a cause of his death," she said.

The unidentified worker had worked for 46 days at the plant to install a tank which will be used for processing contaminated water from the crippled reactor units.

He worked three hours every day and had been exposed to a total of 2.02 millisieverts of radiation, the official said. An exposure of 100 millisieverts per year is considered the lowest level at which any increase in cancer risk is evident. more