Two workers exposed to high radiation at Japanese N-plant
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The operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan's northeast said today that two of its workers at the crisis-hit facility had been exposed to radiation levels close to legal yearly limit of 250 millisieverts.
The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Power Company (TEPCO), found that the amount of internal and external radiation that two of its employees had been exposed to exceeded 200 millisieverts. The reading for one of the men reached 240.8 millisieverts, while another received 226.6 millisieverts of radiation exposure.
The power company had last month measured the internal radiation exposure of the workers whose external exposure exceeded 100 millisieverts, national broadcaster NHK reported.
The Health Ministry recently raised the legal radiation limit that workers can be exposed to in an emergency from 100 to 250 millisieverts.
On March 24, the two workers, without wearing proper protective gear, stood in highly radioactive water while working in the basement of the Number 3 reactor building.
TEPCO said it took about one month to measure their internal exposure levels.
It said its workers are transferred out of the Fukushima plant once their external exposure reaches 150 millisieverts, and that 8 workers in total have been relocated.
TEPCO also plans to speed up the removal of highly radioactive water from an underground tunnel connected to the plant's No.2 reactor building by doubling the number of pumps, more than seven weeks after the March 11 magnitude-9 quake and tsunami left nearly 30,000 people dead or unaccounted for.
Huge amounts of highly radioactive water are hampering efforts to restore cooling functions to the plant's reactors.
TEPCO has so far been using a single pump to transfer radioactive water from the No 2 reactor building to a waste processing facility.
Its workers have pumped 2,400 tonnes of radioactive water out of the tunnel since April 19.
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