By James Conca
Japan announced for the first time that a worker at the Fukushima nuclear power plant died after suffering radiation exposure, as reported in the Guardian, BBC and Newsweek, although this is unlikely to be true.
What actually happened is the government decided last week that the worker’s family should be paid compensation. Just like happens a lot in the United States. We just don’t want to fight it – it looks bad. Which is fine. It’s a wonderful thing to give grieving people compensation.
The man, who was in his 50s, died from lung cancer that was diagnosed in 2016. There is no evidence it happened because of Fukushima. Instead, it appears the compensation was awarded just because he was a career nuclear worker. Who worked at Fukushima a couple of times. Who got cancer.
First, lung cancer is not the type of cancer caused by nuclear accidents, and certainly not this soon after exposure or because of such doses. It took decades for lung cancer to appear in the atomic bomb survivors, and those were at much higher doses than this worker received. By all accounts, this worker was diligent in his protocols and in wearing the appropriate protective gear.
The government previously said that radiation was linked to four workers developing leukemia and thyroid cancer from high doses, which are more reasonable cancers to expect from this disaster. But none have died.
Second, the radiation workers in Japan, including Fukushima, as with all radworkers around the world, do not have any more cancers than the general population. The people around Fukushima do not have any more cancers than the general population and never will. They never got enough of a dose.
Like all human populations, cancer occurs in about 20%-30% of all people, depending on where you live. In Japan, it’s 20%. So Fukushima nuclear workers, Tokyo sushi chefs, and automotive workers in Toyota City,