TOKYO -- Two nuclear plant workers have exceeded Japan's radiation exposure limit for men, and others who toiled without sufficient protection in the earliest days of the crisis could show high levels as well, the government and plant operator said Friday.

The two control room operators are the first men to surpass the government-set limit. About 40 workers are being tested further after preliminary findings showed high exposures, TEPCO spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said.

The two men are not showing immediate health problems. Matsumoto quoted unidentified doctors at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences who examined them and said the two men don't require current health treatment and can live normally.

They will need long-term health monitoring, and TEPCO will take care of those checks because of an increased risk of developing cancer, he said.

Workers have been fighting to get the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant under control since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out power and crucial cooling systems, largely melting the cores of three reactors. Several explosions have scattered highly radioactive debris around the plant and radioactivity has leaked into the environment around it.

The two men, one in his 30s and another in his 40s, were responsible for the central control room for Unit 3 and 4 reactors the day the disasters struck and in the days that followed. About 150 other control room operators worked early in the crisis and are being examined.

"Monitoring of internal exposures has been slow. I'm afraid we'll see more people exceeding 250 millisieverts," said Goshi Hosono, director of the government's crisis management task force, urging TEPCO to speed up monitoring of workers' health and take appropriate steps. -- AP

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