Tokyo – When the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant suffered a catastrophic meltdown, thousands of workers were called in to take the reactor offline.
Now, four years later, Japan has confirmed the first case of cancer stemming from that dangerous work.
The country’s health ministry said Monday that a former Fukushima worker has been diagnosed with leukemia.
The unnamed man in his 30s worked at the plant from October 2012 to November 2013.
“This is a massive blow to the IAEA, which stated in September of this year that no discernible health effects due to the exposure to radiation released by the accident are to be expected,” Greenpeace said in a statement.
IAEA is the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The leukemia was diagnosed after the worker filed a work hazard compensation claim, the ministry said.
About 45,000 workers have been involved in cleanup work at the Fukushima plant since August 2011. The earthquake that caused the disaster at the facility took place five months earlier, in March 2011.
Ten other former Fukushima workers have filed similar cases. Seven were dropped; three are pending, the ministry said.