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Fukushima Nuclear Plant Worker Confirmed To Have Radiation-Related Cancer

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Following the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant incident in March 2010, more than 80,000 residents evacuated for fear of radiation. Three reactors melted down due to the massive earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the prefecture.

A 12-mile evacuation zone surrounding the nuclear plant has been, imposed following the meltdown's containment. The incident resulted in the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents in the prefecture for fear of radiation. Majority of children living near the area are given regular ultrasounds. Twenty-five children were diagnosed with 'suspicious or malignant cases' of thyroid cancer in 2014. In August 2015, 137 children were found to have thyroid cancer. Four years following the nuclear plant incident, a worker at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has been diagnosed with leukemia.

The nuclear plant worker has filed for a compensation claim for the radiation-related illness. The claim was approved by the Office of Health and Labor Ministry. Dr. James O'Donnell, the nuclear medicine division chief at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Ohio expressed that the nuclear plant worker's radiation exposure 'slightly increased' his risk of developing cancer. O'Donnell added that connecting the cancer to the nuclear plant incident is a 'big, big leap'. He explained that there is a four to five percent increase in cancer risk among Fukushima nuclear plant employees. Taking out the radiation factor, there is a 10 to 15 percent risk of developing cancer for every 100,000 people. O'Donell noted that a four percent increase could mean that 11 to 16 workers may develop cancer out of 100,000 workers.

Studies conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN) on the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown have indicated that no major cancer outbreak is expected among adults exposed to the Fukushima incident.

From October 2012 to December 2013, the Fukushima worker helped in the installation of covers on the heavily damaged reactors at the nuclear plant. The weeks that followed the incident had the highest levels of radiation. The employee did not work in those weeks. The Office of Health and Labor Ministry shared that the worker was employed at several other nuclear plants before working at the Fukushima plant.

Currently, doctors have yet to determine if his condition has a direct link to the nuclear plant incident. However, ministry official said that the worker's exposure of 19.8 millisievert came mostly from his Fukushima nuclear plant activities.

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