Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

In Focus: Radiation Protection at Works Relating to TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident

Press release

27 April 2012
Office for Radiation Protection of Workers
Industrial Health Division
Occupational Safety and Health Department
Labour Standards Bureau

An expert meeting compiled a report on radiological hazard protection measures for workers engaged in rehabilitation and reconstruction work in response to the revision of the evacuation areas.

“The Expert meeting on Radiological Protection for Decontamination and Related Works” (Chaired by Koji Mori, Professor of the University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan) compiled a secondary report.

In response to the revision of the restricted areas and evacuation areas designated by the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters associated with the accident at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, anticipating restoration of daily life infrastructures (except decontamination works) and the start or resumption of production industries (hereafter referred to as “rehabilitation and reconstruction works” *1), radiological hazard protection measures for workers engaged in rehabilitation and reconstruction works have been discussed in the expert meeting since 8 March 2012.

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has already put the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards at Works to Decontaminate Soil and Wastes Contaminated by Radioactive Materials Resulting from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Related Works (hereafter referred to as the Ionizing Radiation Ordinance for Decontamination) was put into effect on 1 January 2012. The application of the ordinance was limited only to employers whose employees are engaged in the decontamination works. Therefore, an extension of the application was required.

The report proposed measures to be provided by the employers whose employees will be engaged in the following work at the special decontamination area;

  1. Work involving contaminated soil with radioactivity higher than 10,000 Bq/kg (works for handling designated contaminated soil and wastes)
  2. Work at areas with average ambient dose rate higher than 2.5 µSv/h (works under a designated dose rate)
  1. Identification of personnel to whom radiation exposure dose need to be controlled, and methods to control the radiation exposure dose
  2. Measures to reduce radiation exposure
  3. Measures to prevent spread of contamination and internal exposure
  4. Worker education program
  5. Actions for health care
  6. Safety and health control system

In response to the report, the MHLW will revise a part of the Ionizing Radiation Ordinance for Decontamination aiming at putting it into effect on early July 2012, and will formulate guidelines for rehabilitation/reconstruction works (tentative name) for employers and workers.

*1: Other businesses include hospital/welfare facilities, trading, farming/forestry, maintenance/repair and transportation.

*2: Specified in Article 25, Paragraph 1, Act on Special Measures Concerning the Handling of Environmental Pollution by Radioactive Materials Discharged by the Nuclear Power Station Accident Associated with the Tohoku District Off the Pacific Ocean Earthquake on 11 March 2011 (Law No.110, 2011)