Society News Archive

4 October 1999

Plant Worker Wanted to Finish Early

A worker exposed to high levels of radiation in Thursday's critical-mass accident in Tokaimura, Japan said he had instructed two other workers to pour uranium exceeding the normal limit to speed up the process, a Japanese news source states today.

"I wanted to finish the job as early as possible so I instructed the other two to skip normal procedures," sources quoted the worker as saying.

The worker, who was a supervisor, was in a different room from the other two workers and received a lower radiation exposure.

For more information from the Japanese news source see

The news source also indicated that for the first time in Japan, insurance payments will be made in connection with the accident.

IAEA Informed of Japanese Accident

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was informed by Japanese nuclear authorities on September 30 of the accident which occurred at the uranium processing facility at the Tokaimura nuclear complex. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has offered the Japanese government the services of an IAEA expert team.

Information provided to the IAEA by the Japanese authorities can be see on the IAEA website at For up to date information look for the heading on the Japanese accident and click on that section.

DOE Ready to Help Japanese

U. S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson on 30 September released the following statement from Sarov, Russia regarding the nuclear incident at the uranium processing plant in Tokaimura, Japan.

"Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Yevgeniy Adamov and I today began assembling a joint team of Russian and American nuclear specialists to be ready to provide assistance to the Japanese people in responding to this incident.

"The Department of Energy has experts in several areas which could be helpful including radiological health, atmospheric monitoring, criticality and robots that could be dispatched to the area.

"Although we have not yet been asked to provide assistance, we want them to know that both the Russian and American governments are ready and willing to help."