A health ministry team is studying whether around 2,000 workers who helped contain the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant that started in March 2011 are at risk of thyroid cancer, one of the team members said Sunday.

The research team of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry aims to determine how radiation exposure as a result of the nuclear crisis has affected the plant workers, who were exposed to greater levels of radiation than local residents, who in large part evacuated.

Tomotaka Sobue, an Osaka University professor who is part of the ministry team, announced the study during an international research gathering in Tokyo on radiation and thyroid cancer.