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

12 April 2013
Office for Radiation Protection of Workers
Industrial Health Division
Occupational Safety and Health Department
Labour Standards Bureau

A Ministerial Ordinance for Preventing Radiation Hazards of workers engaged in the disposal of accident-derived waste, etc. was published, and its guidelines were formulated.
~ Partially revised Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards will be put into effect on 1 July 2013 ~

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) published a ministerial ordinance for revising the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards (hereafter referred to as“Ionizing Radiation Ordinance”) that stipulates measures to prevent radiation hazards of workers on 12 April 2013, and to be put it into effect on 1 July 2013.

This revision was made in light of that disposal of waste contaminated with radioactive materials discharged by the accident* is expected to get into full swing with the progress of decontamination project.

Five revision points shown below were suggested to obligate disposal employers to take radiation hazard prevention measures. It should be noted that definition of controlled area, exposure dose limits, exposure dose measurement and recording and measures for health care should follow the provisions in the current Ionizing Radiation Ordinance.

  1. Requirements to be satisfied by such facilities as incineration plants and landfills where the disposal of accident-derived waste would be performed
  2. Measures to prevent the spread of contamination, such as the use of dust masks and protective clothing, as well as contamination inspection
  3. Operation management by, for example, preparing operation manuals
  4. Special education for workers engaged in disposing work
  5. Exemption in which the disposal facility is constructed in special decontamination areas

In parallel with the revision, guidelines for disposal of accident-derived waste were also prepared. The guidelines summarize the provisions specified in the Industrial Safety and Health Act and other relevant regulations, including the Ionizing Radiation Ordinance, as well as actions advisable for employers to conduct in order to prevent radiological hazards of workers. Specifically, it includes the following:

  1. Method of defining radiation controlled areas and controlling radiation exposure doses
  2. Education of workers
  3. Dose limits in facilities
  4. Actions for health care
  5. Requirements for facilities to prevent contamination
  6. Occupational Safety and health management framework
  7. Measures to prevent contamination
  8. Exemption in the special decontamination areas
  9. Work management, etc.

A textbook for special education of workers engaged in the disposal, as specified in this revision, was also prepared. This textbook is available from the MHLW website. The MHLW will make public the textbook so that it is widely utilized by employers and workers to take appropriate measures at work sites.

*: 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

  1. Measures for Preventing Radiation Hazards to Workers Engaged in Disposal of (Nuclear) Accident-derived Waste PDF 689KB
  2. Overview of the Guidelines on Prevention of Radiation Hazards for Workers Engaged in (Nuclear) Accident-derived Waste Disposal PDF 216KB
  3. Guidelines on Prevention of Radiation Hazards for Workers Engaged in (Nuclear) Accident-derived Waste Disposal PDF 718KB
  4. Format (Excel) xls 71KB
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