Japanese government misleading UN on impact of Fukushima fallout on children, decontamination workers – Greenpeace International
The report, “On the Frontline of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident: Workers and Children,” reveals high levels of radiation in both exclusion zones and open areas still exist even after huge decontamination efforts, and documents the extent of the government’s violation of international human rights conventions and guidelines, in particular those for workers and children.
“In areas where some of these decontamination workers are operating, the radiation levels would be considered an emergency if they were inside a nuclear facility,” said Shaun Burnie, Senior Nuclear Specialist of Greenpeace Germany. “These workers have received almost no training in radiation protection, are poorly paid, exposed to high radiation, and risk losing their jobs if they speak out. UN human rights Special Rapporteurs are absolutely right to warn the Japanese government over these risks and violations.”
The main findings of the Greenpeace Japan investigation include:
Radiation levels in the exclusion zone and lifted evacuation areas of Namie and Iitate are a significant risk for the public including children. Levels range from five to over 100 times higher than the internationally recommended maximum and will remain so for many decades and into next century.
In the exclusion zone in Obori in Namie, average radiation levels were 4.0 μSv per hour. These levels are so high that if a worker would operate there for eight hours per day during a full year, they could receive a dose equivalent to more than a hundred chest X-rays.
At a forest across the street from a kindergarten and school in Namie town where evacuation orders have been lifted, the average radiation level was 1.8 μSv per hour. All 1,584 points measured exceeded the Japanese government’s long-term decontamination target of 0.23 μSv per hour. In 28% of this area, the children’s annual dose could be 10-20 times higher than the internationally recommended maximum.
Worker exploitation is widespread, including recruitment from the disadvantaged and homeless, no effective training in radiation protection, falsification of identification and health certificates, and unreliable official records.