Nearly a year after the nuclear accident in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, which resulted in the deaths of two people, 60 percent of town residents surveyed are still concerned about further nuclear accidents but say they need their jobs in the nuclear industry, a Kyodo News survey showed Wednesday.
In telephone interviews conducted Monday, 60 of the 100 respondents said they worry about another accident similar to the one on Sept. 30 1999. Then, 119 residents were exposed to high levels of radiation and two uranium processing plant workers subsequently died.
Asked about the nuclear-related jobs that one-third of the town’s 34,000 residents have, 46 said, “We have no other options,” while 11 said, “We need them.”
Twenty-seven said they hope the number of nuclear facilities in the village will be reduced, while four said, “We should scrap all of them.”
After the accident at the plant, operated by JCO Co., Tokai residents were exposed to 1 millisievert or more of radiation. One millisievert is the yearly exposure limit for people in Japan who are not working in designated nuclear facilities.
A woman in her 40s said, “My husband and I are involved in the nuclear business and feel guilty that we had always said the business was safe. We should now review everything.”
The survey showed that 24 people are dissatisfied with measures to prevent other accidents; three believe they are sufficient.
As for the use of nuclear energy, 44 said they hope it will be gradually phased out, two want it to cease quickly, 33 support the current scale of nuclear power, and five want to promote it further.
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