Death toll rises to 5 in accident at nuclear plant
TOKYO (AP) -- A worker injured in Japan's deadliest nuclear-plant accident earlier this month has died, raising the death toll to five, an official said today.
Masaru Kameiwa, 30, had been severely burned in the Aug. 9 accident, which occurred when a corroded cooling pipe -- carrying boiling water and superheated steam -- burst at a plant in Mihama, about 200 miles west of Tokyo.
Kameiwa died today at a hospital in Fukui, northern Japan, said Fukui prefectural government spokesman Katsunori Kondo.
Four workers at the plant were killed nearly instantly, and seven others were injured. No radiation was released.
Kondo said one of the injured workers had been released from the hospital after recovering, but five others, including three with serious injuries, were still receiving treatment.
The accident deepened concerns about the safety of Japan's 52 nuclear plants, which supply about a third of the country's electricity. Two workers died in a radiation leak at a fuel reprocessing plant in northeast of Tokyo in 1999.
The Mihama plant's operator, Kansai Electric Power Co., has admitted that a ruptured part of the pipe had not been inspected since 1996.
It is being investigated on suspicion of negligence leading to death.