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Monday, December 5, 2011

The Nuclear Industry's Dirtiest Secret

It was reported by the Los Angeles Times 12/4/11 (Doing Japan's dirty work by John M. Glionna) that unskilled workers from day labor sites, with no knowledge of radiation and its dangers, were being hired to do the clean up at the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant. They are lured to these jobs by the offer of high pay. They wear radiation monitoring badges and when they reach full exposure, they are let go. Since they do not understand radiation and its dangers, they turn off their radiation monitors or take them off, so they can continue to get paid the high wages (said to be as high as $650 per day). According to the article, their supervisors are aware of this but are taking no action.

After the Fukushima disaster, the government raised the annual limit of radiation exposure for nuclear workers from 200 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts (Kristin Shrader-Frechette, University of Notre Dame, professor of radiobiology). However, the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation has warned that exposure to 30 millisieverts a year can cause cancer. My previous blogs point out that “There is no safe level of radiation exposure”. Kristin Shrader-Frechette states that a nuclear dosage tracking system in needed for workers. This is especially true if a worker is dismissed after reaching the 250 millisievert exposure level and goes to another nuclear plant to get a job, not understanding the dangers of further exposure to radiation.

Throughout history there have been terrible experiments and research projects conducted with human beings. When the aftermath is viewed, everyone is horrified and cannot understand how these things could have happened. This is a prime example of something that is happening now that should be stopped. There must be laws as to education and protection of nuclear workers and consequences for failure to do so. Write someone – email someone – tweet something – spread it on facebook – talk about it. Help this to happen.

To read the complete LA Times article go to:,0,347252.story

And thanks to John Glionna for reporting this story.

Barbara Griffin Billig Author: The Nuclear Catastrophe (a fiction novel of suspense)

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