TEPCO’s Radiation Suits: Sorry, No Boots

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    Two workers who were performing repairs at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were hospitalized with radiation burns on their feet after they walked into a pool of radioactive water:

    Three workers were in the ankle-deep water Thursday and were carrying dosemeters. But they ignored the high-radiation warnings of the devices and continue repair work in the soaked basement of the No. 3 reactor’s turbine building, officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant operator, said.

    The water was about 15 centimeters deep, officials said.

    “I thought (the dosemeter) was out of order,” one of the workers was quoted as saying. The radioactivity level had been low in the basement before.

    TEPCO has come under fire for failing to properly ensure the safety of the workers trying to bring the nuclear crisis under control. The company has acknowledged that its safety measures were inadequate.

    Two of the workers were rushed to a hospital in Fukushima city Thursday. They were taken Friday to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba for examinations and treatment for possible beta ray radiation burns below their knees.

    The third worker wearing long boots was unharmed.

    It is unclear why the two workers weren’t equipped with footwear that could protect them from 15 centimeters of water. Judging from the photos from the power plant, it would seem that a lot of workers are just wearing normal shoes as part of their radiation suits. There also seems to be some folks with plastic bags duct-taped over their shoes:

    When all of this is over and investigations take place, I’m sure we’ll find out some other examples of dangerous stupidity. Some may use evidence of TEPCO’s past misdeeds to claim that they’ll cover-up all their mistakes from this accident, but that just isn’t realistic. Whereas faked tests and mishandling of small accidents may go largely unnoticed by the public, this latest accident is bigger in scale and longer in duration. The attention and frustration of the entire country are focusing upon Japan’s leadership and TEPCO, and it would simply be unreasonable to expect that no serious inquiries and punishments will take place after this crisis is resolved.

    Some of you may ask, “Where the injured workers members of the brave Fukushima 50?”

    No, they weren’t, because the “Fukushima 50” are an invention of misinformed foreign journalists.

    As Wikipedia notes, there was only a brief period on March 15th when most workers were evacuated and “around 50” workers were left behind. By the time foreign newspapers were printing stories about the “Fukushima 50,” the number of workers at the site had already climbed to over 150. By March 18th, it was up to 580. There are now perhaps a thousand workers at the plant, and yet the foreign media is still printing headlines today about the “Fukushima 50” and their battle against the reactors.

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