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

15 June 2012
Office for Radiation Protection Workers
Industrial Health Division
Occupational Safety and Health Department
Labour Standards Bureau

Measures to prevent radiation hazards will be required for rehabilitation and reconstruction works other than decontamination works.
- The partially revised Ionizing Radiation Ordinance for Decontamination will be put into effect on 1 July 2012 -

Today, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare will publish the ministerial ordinance on partially revising “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”). It will be put into effect on 1 July 2012.

The revision was made anticipating the start and resumption of “restoration of life infrastructures (except decontamination works) and manufacturing industries” (*2) in “special decontamination areas” (*1) in response to the readjustment of evacuation areas.

The revision focuses on the following points:

  1. Work for handling designated contaminated soil and wastes with radioactivity higher than 10,000 Bq/kg (works for handling designated contaminated soil and wastes) should also be included in the decontamination works, and
  2. The Ionizing Radiation Ordinance for Decontamination should also be applied to work other than decontamination works at areas with an average ambient dose rate higher than 2.5µSv/h (works under a designated dose rate).

Employers are required to take radiological protection measures for the types of work described above.

In conjunction with the above, “guidelines on decontamination works” was also revised, and “guidelines on works under a designated dose rate” were newly formulated. These guidelines summarized the content of the Ionizing Radiation Ordinance for Decontamination in a comprehensive manner and described provisions specified in the Industrial Safety and Health Act and other relevant regulations, as well as actions advisable for employers to conduct in order to prevent radiation hazards of workers. Specifically, the guidelines summarize the following:

  1. Identification of personnel to whom radiation exposure dose needs 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 programs
  5. Actions for health care
  6. Safety and health control system

It should be noted that the guidelines are also expected to be useful for local residents or volunteers who are in the special decontamination areas, though its original purpose was to ensure safety of workers engaged in decontamination work or work under a designated dose rate. In addition, a textbook for special education of workers as specified in the Ionizing Radiation Ordinance for Decontamination was also prepared, and is available from the MHLW website.

*1 Specified by Article 25, Paragraph 1, of the 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 That Occurred on 11 March 2011 (Law No.110, 2011)

*2 This includes preparations of restarting hospital and welfare facilities, agriculture and forestry operations, and associated transportation.

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