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Second woman exposed to radiation at Japan plant

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) May 1, 2011
A second female worker has been exposed to radiation exceeding the legal limit at a nuclear power plant crippled by the March 11 quake and tsunami in Japan, its operator said Sunday.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the medical support worker in her 40s had been exposed to 7.49 millisieverts of radiation over three months, against the legal limit of five millisieverts.

"She has no health problems and was to be checked by a doctor on Monday," TEPCO spokesman Yoshinori Mori said.

TEPCO said on Wednesday a female support worker in her 50s had received 17.55 millisieverts of radiation while working at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The two were among 19 female workers transferred to other facilities on March 23, Mori said. None of the 19 has developed health problems.

The second female worker was presumed to have inhaled radioactive substances while working inside an office used for treating workers who felt unwell at the plant, the spokesman said.

Under Japanese law, radiation exposure for male nuclear plant workers is limited to 100 millisieverts a year in an emergency situation. But the health ministry has raised the limit to 250 millisieverts at Fukushima.

The limit is lower for women, in part because of the risk to their babies if they fall pregnant. Women also have a higher sensitivity to radiation and the dose which causes permanent sterility is lower than that for men.

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