According to the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, four employees were exposed to water containing radioactive substances and two were sent to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
On Wednesday, an incident occurred that highlights the ongoing risks Japan must confront during the decommissioning of the plant. The reactor was disabled by a massive tsunami in 2011, marking the most severe nuclear catastrophe since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
According to a spokesperson for Tepco, five employees were in the process of cleaning pipes in the wastewater filtration system before releasing it into the ocean. Two of the workers were unexpectedly splashed when a hose accidentally came off.
According to the spokesperson, two additional individuals were exposed to the contamination while they were attempting to clean up the spill.
The amount of radiation detected in the two hospitalized individuals was equal to or higher than 4 becquerels per square centimeter, which is the accepted safety limit.
The Tepco spokesperson stated that they have received information confirming that the two workers who were hospitalized are in stable condition.
Tepco stated that both individuals would remain in the hospital for approximately two weeks for additional medical evaluations. The company is also investigating the cause of the accident and implementing measures to ensure it does not happen again.
Several days following the completion of Tepco’s release of a second portion of wastewater from the facility, an incident occurred during a visit from United Nations inspectors conducting a safety assessment.
On August 24th, Tepco initiated the release of over 1 million tonnes of water into the ocean, which has received backlash from China and nearby fishing communities due to concerns about potential harm to the quality of their catches. The water has undergone treatment to remove the majority of radioactive materials, but still contains tritium, a hydrogen isotope that is difficult to extract from water.
The stance of Tokyo is supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency, stating that the discharged water is not harmful.
However, the release has faced criticism from China and Russia, leading to a ban on Japanese seafood imports.
The water will be released to make room for the even more dangerous process of extracting radioactive fuel and debris from the three damaged reactors. This amount of water is equivalent to 540 Olympic swimming pools.