Tepco Reports Second Deadly Radiation Reading at Fukushima
Fukushima Power Plant
EMF Protection Devices
Magnetic Field Detector
By Tsuyoshi Inajima and Kari Lundgren - Aug
Power Co. reported its second deadly radiation reading in as
many days at its wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant north of
The utility known as Tepco said yesterday it detected 5
sieverts of radiation per hour in the No. 1 reactor
building. On Aug. 1 in another area it recorded radiation of
10 sieverts per hour, enough to kill a person “within
a few weeks”
after a single exposure, according to the
World Nuclear Association.
Radiation has impeded attempts to replace cooling systems to
bring three melted reactors and four damaged spent fuel
ponds under control after a tsunami on March 11 crippled the
plant. The latest reading was taken on the second floor of
the No. 1 reactor building and will stop workers entering
“It’s probably the first of many more to come,” said Michael
Friedlander, who spent 13 years operating nuclear power
the U.S., including the Crystal River Station in Florida.
“Although I am not surprised, it concerns me greatly; the
issue is the worker safety.”
The 10 sieverts of radiation detected on Aug. 1 outside
reactor buildings was the highest the Geiger counters used
were capable of reading, indicating the level could have
been higher, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at the
utility, said at a press conference.
“Ten sieverts is the upper limit for many dosimeters and
almost equal to the amount that killed workers at the JCO
nuclear accident in 1999,” said Tomoko Murakami, a nuclear
researcher at the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan.
In that accident, then the world’s worst since Chernobyl in
1986, more than 600 people were exposed to radiation after
workers inadvertently started a nuclear chain reaction while
processing nuclear fuel at a plant near Tokyo. Two employees
of JCO Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal
Mining Co., died from radiation
Tepco was forced to pump water into the three Fukushima
reactors after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disabled
cooling systems. The company in May estimated there would be
200,000 tons of radiated water in basements and other areas
of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant by December.
“If nuclear fuels melted through containment chambers, Tepco
will find even higher radiation readings after water in
building basements is removed,” said Tetsuo Ito, the head of
the Atomic Energy Research Institute at Kinki University.
Tepco has been criticized by the government for withholding
radiation data and other missteps that have worsened the
crisis. About 160,000 people have been evacuated from areas
stretching 20 kilometers and more from the plant.
On May 27, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Tepco’s
withholding radiation data was contributing to “public
distrust.” The utility responded by saying it will publish
in August the combined figures of radiation released into
the atmosphere and in contaminated water. It hasn’t given a
date for release of that information.
Radiation leaks from the Fukushima reactors have spread over
600 square kilometers, Tomio Kawata, a fellow at the Nuclear
Waste Management Organization of Japan,
said in a research report published on May 24 and given to
Radioactive soil in pockets of areas outside the exclusion
zone around the plant have reached the same level as in
Chernobyl following a reactor explosion in the former Soviet
the report said.
The threats to Japan’s food chain are also multiplying as
radioactive cesium emissions from the Fukushima plant
spread. Contaminated beef has been found on supermarket
shelves around the country, forcing the government to ban
cattle shipments from areas in northern Japan.
The latest high radiation readings are probably coming from
materials released during early failed attempts to release
pressure in containment vessels and vent hydrogen gas to
prevent explosions that damaged reactor buildings, Matsumoto
said. There were about 2,760 workers at the plant on Aug 1.
Tepco on April 17 set out a so-called road map to end the
crisis by January, aiming to bring down radiation levels at
the plant within three months and then achieve a so-called
cold shutdown where reactor temperatures fall below 100
degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit).
The utility needs to investigate other areas that may hold
high radiation levels in line with the cold-shutdown and
clean up, said Murakami at Energy Economics.
“Tepco workers and its subcontractors who know the Fukushima
plant well may be the only ones that can discover such hot
spots,” he said. “For people new to the plant it’s deadly.”