Nearly six years after the initial explosion caused a catastrophic meltdown at the Daiichi nuclear power plant in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan, the situation has suddenly taken a drastic turn for the worst. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the company which owns and operates the now defunct power plant, announced Thursday that radiation inside the containment vessel of one of the plant’s failed reactors has now reached levels undetected since the disaster first occurred in 2011. Radiation inside the reactor has reached 530 sieverts per hour, a drastic increase from the previously recorded 73 sieverts per hour recorded in the aftermath of the meltdown. The level of radiation is so high that an official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences told the Japan Times that medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.
Ecowatch 5th Feb 2017 read more »
The radiation levels at Fukushima are not rapidly rising, as some reports suggest. Rather, TEPCO found an area with higher levels of radiation than they had seen before. To do this, they used a 10.5-meter-long (34.4-foot-long) telescopic arm, examining an area inside reactor 2 called the “pedestal”. A camera attached to the arm revealed what looks like a grating that had been melted by exposed fuel from one of the reactors. The images show a square hole measuring 1 meter (3.3 feet) on each side, believed to have originated from melted fuel rods from a pressure vessel above. If confirmed, this would be the first melted fuel found from the reactor – an important step towards decommissioning the plant itself.
IFL Science 8th Feb 2017 read more »