Just a few days after Japanese authorities restarted the second nuclear power plant since the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, a cleanup worker has been awarded payment for the cancer his doctors believe was caused by radiation in the years following the meltdown. The unidentified man developed leukemia after working at the nuclear site for more than a year and has now been awarded an undisclosed amount, marking the first official admission that exposure to radiation from the nuclear sites is likely linked to cancer.
The worker in question reportedly worked installing protective coverings over damaged buildings at the power plant from October 2012 to December 2013. He was one of 40,000 workers who took part in cleanup efforts in the four-plus years since the initial meltdown occurred in 2011. The disaster was set off originally by an earthquake and flooding that stemmed from a tsunami, causing multiple reactors at the Fukushima site to meltdown and leak radioactive material far and wide.
For one cancer patient, the government’s decision to approve workers’ compensation payments will ease at least the financial burden. Although we do not enough the amount of the settlement, it’s said to be enough to cover the man’s medical bills beyond his standard national health insurance. With other similar cases pending, it’s too soon to estimate how much the government will have to pay in medical bills, both for cleanup workers and for local residents whose health was adversely affected by radiation poisoning.