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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Surface Calm at Fukushima Plant

Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011

News photo
Standing down: Miso soup is served Friday at J. Village in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, the base camp for workers trying to contain the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant. POOL

Crisis worker woes, shortage another story

Calm at J. Village belies the danger

Staff writer
NARAHA, Fukushima Pref. — Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Friday for the first time let reporters into the base camp for thousands of workers striving every day to fix the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, showing off new dining facilities, a dormitory for single workers and the latest radioactivity monitors to check vehicles and clothing.
News photo
Hand-off: Workers at J. Village in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, receive disposable protective-gear from colleagues returning from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. REIJI YOSHIDA
What wasn't readily apparent, however, is the number of temporary dispatch workers without job or health insurance, and who face the ax once their radiation exposure tops out, according to a municipal assembly member from a nearby city.
Tepco had long barred reporters from visiting J. Village in the town of Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, the main gate police are using to control access to the 20 km no-go zone around the Fukushima plant.
All the workers going to and from the Fukushima plant must stop at J. Village and undergo radiation checks and thorough decontamination procedures if necessary.
The outside radiation reading at J. Village, located 20 km from the plant, now stands at about 0.5 microsiervert per hour, about 10 times higher than in Tokyo but not high enough to force an evacuation.
"The situation has calmed down a lot here now. We find fewer (irradiated) cars," Toshiro Iinuma, 56, a worker from Tokyo-based maintenance firm Atox, told reporters Friday at J. Village.
Tepco decided to let in reporters as the government is preparing to soon declare that the crippled reactors have achieved cold shutdown, as temperatures have remained under 100 degrees for weeks.

Source: Japan Times

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