By J. D. Heyes
Japan radiation specialists accuses TEPCO of total cover-up regarding radiation exposure of nuclear plant workers
Reports continue to surface about Japan’s tsunami-caused nuclear disaster at the Fukushima complex, and this time Japanese radiation specialists say the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company, is engaged in a number of cover-ups and misinformation campaigns.
One specialist, Nishio Masamichi, director of the Hakkaido Cancer Center, who initially called for “calm” in the early days following the disaster, wrote recently in a top Japanese business journal that the crisis has caused Japan’s “myth of nuclear safety” to fall apart.
Nishio, according to this independent report, says it’s time to confront the very real prospect of long-term radiation exposure, and has accused TEPCO executives of hiding the truth about the real damage caused by the disaster at the expense of saving the company. He also laid some blame for the way the aftermath of the disaster was handled on the country’s leadership, saying Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Cabinet lacked urgency and direction.
Regarding TEPCO, Nishio said the company gave broken dosimeters to temporary workers and only giving monitors when they are working, despite high levels of radiation throughout the entire site. He also accused the company of putting its workers in a gymnasium-type structure to sleep in order to keep them from running away.
Nishio also believes that company executives, lawmakers and other officials simply do not grasp the severity of the accident. For instance, he says one treatment – Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Harvest – has been recommended by doctors as a way to reduce the chances of bone marrow deterioration caused by excessive doses of radiation. But, he said, that treatment was disregarded by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan.
In addition, he says workers are only being given iodine – used to block the absorption of radiation into the thyroid especially, because it’s one of the most radiation-sensitive parts of the body – instead of other treatments as well like Radiogardase (Prussian blue insoluble capsules). He asserts that the best preventative medical expertise is not being brought in to help treat those who are being exposed, an injustice he has deemed “graveyard governance.”
He also believes the Japanese people – not just those living near Fukushima – are not being told the truth about the level of radiation to which they are being exposed.
“Giving us the truth once is much more important than saying ‘hang in there Japan’ a million times,” he wrote, in response to reports that former Minister for Internal Affairs Haraguchi Kazuhiro has alleged that radiation monitoring station data were three decimal places higher than the figures released to the public. If true, Nishio writes, that constitutes a “national crime” against the Japanese people.
In recommending solutions to these and other issues, Nishio essentially argues that more information must be sought by the government about the actual dangers posed by the disaster and, when known, provided to the public. He believes part of the reason why the information is not forthcoming is because there are powerful factions within the Japanese government and power industry that want to rely more on nuclear power in the future, an idea Nishio recommends against.