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Record outdoor radiation level that ‘can kill in 20 min’ detected at Fukushima

Published time: December 08, 2013 18:29
Edited time: December 09, 2013 08:56
Workers check a transport container and a crane in preparation for the removal of spent nuclear fuel from the spent fuel pool inside the No.4 reactor building at the Tokyo Electric Power Corp's (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, in Fukushima  (Reuters / Kimimasa Mayama / Pool)

Workers check a transport container and a crane in preparation for the removal of spent nuclear fuel from the spent fuel pool inside the No.4 reactor building at the Tokyo Electric Power Corp's (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, in Fukushima (Reuters / Kimimasa Mayama / Pool)

Outdoor radiation levels have reached their highest at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant,warns the operator company.Radiation found in an area near a steel pipe that connects reactor buildings could kill an exposed person in 20 minutes,local media reported.

The plant’s operator and the utility responsible for the clean-up Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) detected record radiation levels on a duct which connects reactor buildings and the 120 meter tall ventilation pipe located outside on Friday. TEPCO measured radiation at eight locations around the pipe with the highest estimated at two locations - 25 Sieverts per hour and about 15 Sieverts per hour, the company said.

This is the highest level ever detected outside the reactor buildings, according to local broadcaster NHK. Earlier TEPCO said radiation levels of at least 10 Sieverts per hour were found on the pipe.

The ventilation pipe used to conduct radioactive gasses after the nuclear disaster may still contain radioactive substances, TEPCO added.

The earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that hit Japan’s coast, damaging the Fukushima Daiichi plant and causing the meltdown of three nuclear reactors. The crippled reactors burnt through the concrete basement while the water used to cool them has been leaking into the soil and contaminating the ground water on the premises of the nuclear facility. The radioactive water stored at the site has been seeping into the Pacific Ocean.

The water leakage has raised health concerns among Japan’s neighbors. For instance, South Korea has been testing fish caught off the country's coast, according to the country’s fisheries ministry.

Meanwhile, the chairwoman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission assured that the radioactive water will reach the US West coast at safe levels.

“The highest amount of radiation that will reach the U.S. is two orders of magnitude - 100 times - less than the drinking water standard,” Allison Macfarlane said in Tokyo on Friday as cited by Bloomberg. “So, if you could drink the salt water, which you won’t be able to do, it’s still fairly low.”

Currently 400 tons of contaminated water is being produced at the site on a daily basis. In an attempt to solve the storage problem the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) proposed on Wednesday to consider dumping toxic water into the ocean after lowering the level of radioactive materials.

"Regarding the growing amounts of contaminated water at the site, TEPCO should... examine all options for its further management, including the possibility of resuming controlled discharges (into the sea) in compliance with authorized limits," the IAEA said in a statement.

TEPCO has been testing a high-tech water processing machine called ALPS, which can remove all radioactive materials from the water except tritium. However, the low-energy isotope is considered to be less dangerous than other radioactive isotopes such as caesium and strontium, also contained in the tainted water.

Comments (55)

 

Tom Charles 05.01.2014 13:04

Sorry Brad YOU are wrong! You sound arrogant and obnoxious. The man stated a scientific fact, only a "gram" of (some) radioactive materials can cause cancer. Isn't 576,200 DEAD from cancer in the United States (one in four) enough for you? Yes, 1,500 nuclear tests HAVE killed and Chernobyl is estimated 1 million deaths. Your old-school thinking is, in my opinion, wrong. Yes, The cancer from Fukushima WILL be here. Are YOU taking precautions? I know I am. (15 different things to prevent cancer).

 

Michael 26.12.2013 05:12

Yeah, scientific models of dispersion of materials, what utter nonsense! Seriously, you think that a leak in japan is gonna matter in US waters? You could hurl the entire core of the reactor into the sea and it wouldn't matter. [Quote] The problem is that hot particles are different than the radiation given off by them. If one of those particles is eaten by you and stays in your tissues, you get cancer and die. Only one atom can kill. The Native Americans had no word for cancer, because they had none.

 

Brad Newby 20.12.2013 19:23

Denis Viktorovich 11.12.2013 17:46


What an a bunch of nonsense.

  


Ye ah, scientific models of dispersion of materials, what utter nonsense!

Seriously, you think that a leak in japan is gonna matter in US waters? You could hurl the entire core of the reactor into the sea and it wouldn't matter. Do you know how many nuclear weapon were tested in the oceans in the cold war? By your logic we should all already be dead. This situation is like taking a single drop cyinde and dropping it in an olympic sized pool. You could drink all the water you want from that pool, it's not gonna kill you

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