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Plant worker's thyroid cancer certified as linked to nuclear disaster

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A worker exposed to radiation when disaster struck the Fukushima nuclear plant has been found to have developed thyroid cancer caused by an industrial accident, the labor ministry said Friday.

    The employee of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, is the third person determined to be entitled to benefits due to illness caused by exposure to radiation released when three reactors melted down in the days after a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami in March 2011.

    The man is the first to be certified for developing thyroid cancer because of the nuclear disaster. The first two persons suffer from leukemia.

    The man in his 40s was an operator of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the nuclear plant.

    The man had engaged in work involving radiation for 20 years, and worked at the Fukushima plant between March 2011 and April 2012, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

    Over those 20 years, he was exposed to a total of 149.6 millisieverts of radiation -- but most of that, or 139.12 millisieverts, in the wake of the 2011 disaster.

    He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in April 2014.

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