9 December 2013, 09:35

Fukushima plant record radiation fatal in 20 minutes

Fukushima plant record radiation fatal in 20 minutes

Fukushima’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), on Friday detected record radiation levels in a duct that connects reactor buildings and an external ventilation pipe. Radiation found near the steel pipe connecting reactor buildings could kill anyone exposed to it in 20 minutes, local media reported.

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 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 gave assurances that the radioactive water will only reach the US West coast at safe levels.

On March 11, 2011, a nine-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that inflicted heavy damage on the six-reactor Fukushima plant. Cooling systems in the plant’s reactors were knocked out, leading to meltdowns and the release of radioactive material.

In October, TEPCO said Japanese technicians found a new leak of radioactive water in one of the storage tanks at the damaged nuclear power station, noting that 430 liters (100 gallons) of the toxic water had leaked from the 450-ton tank because of heavy rainfall.

Currently, 400 tons of contaminated water are 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.

Voice of Russia, RT

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