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Japan – Death at Fukushima plant ruled from overwork

Friday, February 24, 2012

Laaska News Feb. 24, 2012

Japanese labor authorities have ruled that a man’s death at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was due to his having to carry out demanding work while wearing stress-creating protective gear.

It is the first time the labor ministry has recognized such a case connected to cleanup work at the plant.

The authorities have granted compensation to the family of 60-year-old plumber Nobukatsu Oosumi from Shizuoka Prefecture.

His lawyer says Oosumi worked for a construction company subcontracted to Toshiba. He was sent to the Fukushima plant in May to do piping work in a nuclear waste processing facility.

He died a day after he began work, saying he felt ill.

Oosumi’s family applied for compensation, saying his death was caused by physical and mental stress from the workload.

The labor authorities told the family’s lawyer that Oosumi died because he had to work through the night under uncomfortable conditions while wearing a protective suit and mask.

Oosumi’s widow says her husband must be looking down from above and feeling relief.

Toshiba has declined to comment on the case.




TEPCO to use underwater robot for repair work


Tokyo Electric, or TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it is considering using an underwater robot to probe and repair the damaged reactor containment vessels.

The plan was unveiled at a meeting in Tokyo to discuss ways to dismantle the reactors at the plant on Friday. Nuclear experts and officials from the robot maker attended.

The utility firm and the manufacturer say they are planning to deploy the remotely controlled robot on the underground level of the reactor buildings, as it is flooded with contaminated water.

They say this is a step toward repairing the containment vessels of No.1 to No.3 reactors so that the melted nuclear fuel can be removed.

In the meeting, another proposal was also made to use a 10-meter-long rod with a camera on the tip to examine the interior of the containment vessels.

A roadmap for decommissioning the reactors, set by the government and TEPCO, says the removal of the nuclear fuel should start within 10 years. Technological development appears to hold the key to the project’s success.



Laaska News.