Subject: [cwj 3] Japan Nuclear Accident Claims Second Victim
From: Amit Srivastava <>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 12:13:45 -0700
Seq: 3

Thursday April 27 3:01 AM ET 

Japan Nuclear Accident Claims Second Victim

By Kazunori Takada

TOKYO (Reuters) - A plant worker exposed to massive radiation in Japan's
worst nuclear accident died on Thursday, the second
victim of an incident that has jolted public confidence in the nation's
nuclear power industry.

Tokyo University Hospital officials said Masato Shinohara, 40 -- one of
three workers exposed to heavy doses of radiation in the
accident last September -- had died of multiple organ failure.

``It is true that Mr. Shinohara has died as a result of the accident,'' one
hospital official said.

Shinohara, who was exposed to at least eight sieverts of radiation in the
accident at a uranium processing plant in Tokaimura,
northeast of Tokyo, was placed on a respirator in February after pneumonia
and radiation damage to his respiratory system impaired
his breathing, and on a dialysis machine this month after his kidney
functions deteriorated.

Last October, he received a transfusion of blood cells from the umbilical
cord of a newborn in an effort to stimulate his ability to
produce blood cells, which was disastrously damaged by the radiation.

Another worker, Hisashi Ouchi, 35, died in December after being exposed in
the accident to 17 sieverts of radiation -- the equivalent of
about 17,000 times the average annual normal exposure in Japan.

Experts say seven sieverts is considered a lethal dose.

A third worker who also suffered heavy radiation exposure had recovered and
was released from hospital in December.

The Japanese government came under heavy fire for lax supervision of the
industry after the accident, which occurred when the
workers put nearly eight times the proper amount of condensed uranium into
a mixing tank, triggering a nuclear chain reaction.

Saying Shinohara's death had filled him with ``deep regret, Science and
Technology Agency chief Hirofumi Nakasone pledged to
renew government efforts to prevent such accidents, Kyodo news agency said.

On Tuesday, officials said they had decided to stick with a ''level four''
rating for the Tokaimura accident, despite earlier suggestions
that they might raise it one notch to ''level five.''

Level four on the International Atomic Energy Agency's zero-to-seven
International Nuclear Event Scale indicates the possibility of a
fatal radiation leak at the accident site but no significant risk outside
the plant, the official said.

A total of 439 workers and residents were exposed to radiation as a result
of the Tokaimura accident.

America's Three Mile Island accident was a level five, while the Soviet
Union's Chernobyl accident in 1986 rated a level seven -- the
worst nuclear power accident on record.

Japan has a comparatively good record on nuclear accidents, but the
Tokaimura case has sparked growing public concern about an
industry that supplies some one-third of the nation's electricity needs.

Earlier this month, the government began a one-year review of its nuclear

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