Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fukushima Radiation Readings at Their Highest, Japan Is Contaminated

Financial Feed

Robots sent to get Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi reactor No. 1’s radiation readings reflected 1,120 millisierverts of radiation per hour, said the general manager of Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) Junichi Matsumoto. The reading is 4 times higher than the yearly dose a nuclear worker is allowed to be exposed to. Following the quake and tsunami that hit the country, explosions ensued at the nuclear plant and radiation levels from 4 of the 6 reactors leaked. This caused the mass departure of thousands of people as farmland and drinking water were already contaminated.

Tepco said it is not possible to push through with the planned flooding of more water to reactor No. 1 to expedite its emergency cooling efforts. Kyoto University nuclear engineering professor Hironobu Unesaki said Tepco must figure out the high radiation’s source. If it’s from contaminated water leaking from inside the reactor, Tepco’s so-called water tomb may be jeopardized because flooding the containment vessel will result in more radiation in the building, added the professor. The explosion at the plant damaged reactors 1, 2, and 3’s cores and reactor 4’s fuel rods. Tepco has used several emergency measures to cool the units, such as pouring millions of liters of water.

Today in Tokyo, Tepco shares were at 412 yen, down by 3.3%. Since the disaster, shares have dipped by 80% but Tepco said damage to reactors 1 and 2 are less than what’s estimated. Reactor No. 1 was reportedly damaged by 55% against the estimated 70%. Reactor No. 2 was previously said to be damaged by 35% but that was reduced to 25% while No. 3 went from 25% to 30%. Matsumoto said core damage data was revised because some readings on the containment vessel monitors were wrong. There was also a recording mistake and they are investigating the matter, he added.

The public health institute today said radiation level in Tokyo’s water supply was reported to have decreased. Yesterday, iodine-131 level in tap water supply was at zero. There were also no detected Cesium-134 and cesium-137. On March 23, people were told that water supply was not safe for infants after iodine and cesium levels were found to be over the guidelines.

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