First Fukushima Worker Dies
But no radioactive material found on body of man, in his 60s
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2011 9:18 AM CDT
In this May 13, 2011 photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co., workers wearing a radiation protection suit prepare for a cooling system to be used for the No. 1 reactor.   (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)
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(Newser) More bad news out of Fukushima: A worker at the plant died today, the first casualty since the stabilization effort began. A TEPCO rep says the man's body did not show any signs of radiation overexposure and no radioactive material was found on his body, but the cause of death remains unknown—and fuels concerns about conditions at the plant. Still, it could be unrelated. The worker, who was in his 60s, worked only two days at the plant, yesterday and today, and was exposed to a total of 0.68 millisieverts of radiation in that time—about four times the amount one gets during a chest X-ray.

The TEPCO rep says the man said he wasn't feeling well this morning, and collapsed in a disposal building that houses radioactive-contaminated water after just under an hour of work, reports the Washington Post. "The temperature in the facility is not being monitored, but we hear that it is not a severe working environment in terms of humidity and radiation level," says another rep. "We also understand that the work itself was not of high physical burden." About 1,900 people currently work at the plant.