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Gov't certifies Fukushima TEPCO employee's leukemia as work-related illness

In the background, from left, the No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 reactor buildings of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant are seen, in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 31, 2016. In front are tanks used to store contaminated water. (Mainichi)

The leukemia that developed in a Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) employee in his 40s working on the aftermath of the damaged Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant was certified as a work-related illness by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on Dec. 13, it has been learned.

According to the ministry, the man was in charge of ensuring the safety of the reactors at the Fukushima plant since April 1994. After the reactor meltdowns in March 2011, he donned protective clothing and a mask and also led the effort to cool the overheating reactors with water. He developed leukemia in February last year and is currently receiving treatment.

Over the roughly 19 years that he worked at the nuclear facility, he was exposed to some 99 millisieverts of radiation. Of that, approximately 96 millisieverts occurred after the accident. As the radiation exposure levels exceeded the ministry's baseline of 5 millisieverts per year multiplied by years of employment, his cancer was certified as being linked to his work at the nuclear power station.

This marks the third case of receiving work-related illness certification for developing leukemia in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster.

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