People exposed to high levels of radiation will be taken to select hospitals across the country if their number tops 100 amid the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station, government and medical sources said.
Current potential patients include workers at Tokyo Electric Power Co. and its subcontractor firms, firefighters and Self-Defense Forces personnel trying to contain the nuclear disaster.
The government came up with the plan Friday because the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, in the city of Chiba and one of the country’s two specialized radiation research centers, can’t handle such a large number of victims at once, the sources said.
Currently, the Chiba institute is the designated emergency medical facility for radiation victims in eastern Japan. Hiroshima University serves the same role in the west.
Apart from these two places, medical facilities that can offer emergency treatment to radiation victims have been set up in 19 prefectures where nuclear power facilities are located.
The government plans to decontaminate radiation victims on the spot and send them to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences if the number of victims is less than 100.
If more than 100, the victims would be transferred to Hiroshima University and other medical centers around the nation. SDF helicopters could be used to do that, the sources said.
Anyone exposed to radiation exceeding 250 millisieverts requires immediate treatment, the sources said.
The government sets the upper limit of radiation for workers at nuclear power plants at 50 millisieverts per year and 100 millisieverts over five years. In an emergency, the limit can be raised to 100 millisieverts. For the current crisis it was upped to 250.
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