Tepco worker’s thyroid cancer is recognized as work-related

JIJI

Japanese labor authorities have recognized the thyroid cancer of a man who worked at Tepco’s stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant as a work-related, it was learned Friday.

It is the first time that thyroid cancer has been recognized as a work-related illness caused by radiation from the plant after it was damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

This is the third case labor authorities have linked to radiation exposure for workers at the Fukushima plant. The two previous cases involved leukemia.

At a meeting Friday, a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry panel of experts presented for the first time criteria for recognizing thyroid cancer as a work-related disease from radiation, including doses of 100 millisieverts or more and a period of five years or more between exposure to radiation and the development of cancer.

Based on the criteria, a labor standards office in Fukushima Prefecture concluded that the cancer of the employee, who is in his 40s, was caused by radiation from the plant.

The man joined Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. in 1992 and worked at several nuclear power plants for over 20 years.

After checking reactor instruments and carrying out other duties at the Fukushima No. 1 plant from March 2011 to April 2012, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in April 2014. His cumulative radiation dose after the accident stood at 139.12 millisieverts.

According to the International Commission on Radiological Protection, lifetime cancer mortality rises by about 0.5 percent for those exposed to a dose of 100 millisieverts.