A leaked tape has confirmed that Build-up, a Fukushima decontamination company responsible for aiding in the recovery of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, encouraged workers to falsely lower radiation readings by covering dosimeters with lead boxes. Asahi Shimbun newspaper broke the story.
Fukushima Decontamination Contractor Endangers Workers, Conceals Truth
Build-up’s managers instructed the team on site to shield the dosimeters. Because lead blocks radiation, the dosimeters would show lower levels and allow the managers to keep more of the same workers in high-radiation environments rather than hiring more employees (and spending more money).
Some employees refused to use the lead shields, and that’s when the executive of the Fukushima decontamination company called a meeting and encouraged workers by saying, “You can no longer make a living when the dose runs out.”
The workers fought back. “I think this is almost a crime.”
“Perhaps you are not cut out for working at nuclear plants. Go back to your hometown and do some other job,” snapped the executive.
At the end of the meeting, three employees resigned. Nine did not.
Actual Damage Far Exceeds Initial ‘Estimates’
Nuclear plant workers are allowed exposure up to 50 millisieverts annually, but due to the lead shields, actual exposure cannot be determined. Build-up was on-site between November 2011 and March this year; actual damage currently remains unclear and will likely remain so.
Operators already admitted earlier this year that radiation levels at the failed plant exceeded 2½ times the levels announced. It’s no surprise, then, that more skeletons are tumbling out of the closet.
Saving Money, Not Lives
Build-up did not function alone; their superiors at TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) claimed that while they knew the lead shields existed, they were not aware of their use by workers. For their greed, a Stanford University study speculates that anywhere from 15 to a whopping 1,300 people could die from Fukushima’s radiation exposure.
We have already seen effects of the Fukushima disaster in the US. Researchers at UC Berkley reported raised cesium content in California’s topsoil.