Whereabouts of 30 nuclear power plant subcontractors unknown: Health Ministry
"The whereabouts of about 30 subcontractors who helped deal with the crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is unknown, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said on June 20.
The workers are among some 3,700 who worked to control the disaster in March, the month the plant was struck by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
The workers' names were listed in records showing that they had been loaned dosimeters, but when the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), contacted the companies they were associated with, the companies replied that there was no record of those workers.
The ministry has branded TEPCO's administration of workers "sloppy" and ordered the company to conduct an investigation to identify the workers.
"We don't know why there is no record of the workers. The records and dosimeters were managed by TEPCO and its administration can only be described as sloppy," a representative of the ministry's Labor Standards Bureau said.
Ministry officials said that 3,639 emergency workers were enlisted to handle the nuclear crisis in March. As of June 20, TEPCO had reported provisional radiation exposure figures for 3,514 workers to the ministry. The other 125 had not undergone tests for internal radiation exposure as of June 20. TEPCO has asked cooperating companies to have 69 of these 125 workers tested. The remaining 56 were either about to undergo tests or could not undergo tests due to illness.
Officials said that TEPCO managed records of workers who had been loaned dosimeters between the outset of the disaster and mid-April. When workers were loaned dosimeters at the base isolation structure of the power plant and another area, the serial numbers of the dosimeters, the names of the companies involved in the work and the workers' names were recorded in handwriting. But when TEPCO contacted the cooperating companies there was no record of some 30 of the 69 workers.
All of the workers who were not found on company records have returned their dosimeters. Records of their external radiation exposure remained, but none of the workers was exposed to radiation exceeding the limit of 250 millisieverts, officials said.
Since mid-April, records have been managed with bar codes and other means of identification, but the only way to identify workers at the plant before then is through handwritten records."