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Tokaimura Nuclear Plant to Pay Damages

Date Posted: 2000-03-10

The JCO Company in Tokaimura, situated some 70 miles northeast of Tokyo, may pay up to •10 billion ($93 million) worth of compensation claims to victims of the nuclear accident that occurred there last September. News agency reports stated that the companyís officials, whose uranium-processing plant was the site of Japanís worst nuclear accident ever, agreed to pay the sum on Saturday following negotiations between JCO and local residents and businesses. By the end of last year, JCO had already paid out $49.3 million in claims.

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 had 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.

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

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