$93 million in claims reportedly sought in Japanese nuclear accident

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Nando Times

(fair use blah blah posted 09:10 MST 2000/03/05)

"$93 million in claims reportedly sought over Japanese nuclear accident

TOKYO (March 5, 2000 8:27 a.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - The company that ran the uranium-processing plant where Japan's worst nuclear accident happened expects to pay at least $93 million worth of compensation claims, Kyodo News agency reported Sunday.

The Sept. 30, 1999 accident at the JCO Co. facility in Tokaimura, 70 miles northeast of Tokyo, killed one worker and exposed hundreds of people to radiation.

Workers violated safety regulations by mixing nitric acid and enriched uranium in buckets, setting off an uncontrolled atomic reaction that took hours to bring under control.

About 400 people living and working in the area at the time of the accident were seeking compensation for having been directly exposed to radiation during the leak, although none of them received high doses, Kyodo said.

More than 3,000 other claims included those seeking compensation for losses suffered by businesses in agricultural, fisheries and services industries.

Officials in Tokaimura calculated the compensation on Saturday following negotiations between JCO and local residents and businesses, Kyodo said.

JCO spokesman Katsunori Suzuki declined to comment on the figure but said the company plans to announce this week the total amount of claims received so far.

At the end of last year, JCO had already paid out $49.3 million in claims, Suzuki said.

JCO and its parent company, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., plan to use company funds and money from a $9.3 million insurance policy to settle the claims, Kyodo said."

-- firefly (forest@calm.dot), March 05, 2000

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