Tokyo (CNN) — Radiation levels in pooled water tested in the No. 2 nuclear reactor’s turbine building at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant are 10 million times normal, utility company and government officials said Sunday. Hidehiko Nishiyama, an official with Japan’s nuclear and industrial safety agency, said the surface water showed 1,000 millisieverts of radiation. By comparison, an individual in a developed country is naturally exposed to 3 millisieverts per year, though Japan’s health ministry has set a 250 millisievert per year cumulative limit before workers must leave the plant.
(This picture by TEPCO Saturday shows the control room of the second reactor of Fukushima nuclear power plant).
The 10-million-times normal reading applies to radioactive iodine-134 found in the No. 2 building’s pooled water, according to the nuclear safety agency. This isotope loses half its radioactive atoms every 53 minutes, compared to a half-life of every eight days for radioactive iodine-131 that has also been detected in recent days. This exponentially dwindling amount of radiation means, according to Nishiyama, that it’s unlikely that sealife — and, several steps down the line, humans who might eat once contaminated seafood — will suffer greatly from the iodine-134 exposure.
“Certainly, we have to be concerned about the fact that the level of radiation is increasing,” said Nishiyama. “But at this point, we do not … envisage negative health impacts.”
There was no indication either of harm done to the two people working in and around the No. 2 reactor when the test result became known. Those two subsequently left, and work in the turbine building has stopped until the government signs off on the power company’s plan to address the issue, according to an official with the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs the plant. That said, a Tokyo Electric official noted Sunday that people continued to work in other buildings — including a control room, which got power and light for the first time in weeks the previous afternoon — in the No. 2 reactor’s complex.
Work has similar ceased at the No. 3 reactor’s turbine building, where tests earlier indicated radiation 10,000 times normal in that structure’s basement. Eventually, authorities want to pump the pooled, and contaminated, water from both these reactors’ turbine buildings. This happened again Sunday in the No. 1 reactor’s turbine building, where tests had showed some radioactive contamination, although nowhere as high as in the other two locales. Authorities are still trying to pinpoint the relationship, if any, between these alarming readings from inside all these buildings to a continued spike in radiation detected in seawater just offshore.
A Japanese nuclear safety official said Sunday that levels of radiation were 1,850 times normal at a monitoring post situated 330 meters (361 yards) into the Pacific Ocean. This is near the discharge canal for the Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 reactors. On Saturday, similar readings from the same monitoring posts showed readings were 1,250 times above normal. The previous day, they’d been lower — at 104 times more than a typical level. This substance is a biproduct during the nuclear energy process, and officials suspect the seawater contamination may be a direct result of problems at the plant. These setbacks notwithstanding, a Tokyo Electric official said that fresh water — and not seawater, as had been done earlier — is still being injected into the reactor cores and the spent nuclear fuel pools for the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 units.
That is critical as it suggests that measures continue to ensure that nuclear fuel rods there are kept cool, in order to prevent overheating and the release of more airborne radiation. Up until Sunday, the potential for contamination from the No. 3 reactor had been a primary concern. This unit, which has had a building severely damaged by a hydrogen explosion and that an official said last week might have leaked radiation from its reactor core, is the only one of the facility’s six reactors to use a combination of uranium and plutonium fuel, called MOX. Experts say this mix is considered more dangerous than the pure uranium fuel used in other reactors.
Three men laying cable in the No. 3 unit turbine building’s basement have been hospitalized after stepping in the highly radioactive water there on Thursday.
On Sunday, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano confirmed that these workers would likely be released Monday from the hospital, which he characterized as a “good development.”
An official with Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs the plant, apologized Saturday, saying the exposure might have been avoided with better communication. Hideyuki Koyama, the company’s associate director, said pooled water had been discovered in the basement of the No. 1 reactor six days earlier. But a sample was not taken for analysis until the 24th, after the three workers were exposed to between 173 to 181 millisieverts of radiation. Edano told reporters Saturday the company has been given “stronger instructions” to fully and quickly disclose information about the plant’s conditions, so the government can ensure “proper safety measures.”
As important, the chief secretary said, was the need for Tokyo Electric to be upfront with the Japanese — millions of whom get power from the company and millions more of whom have been affected by radioactive emissions from the crisis. “We need to be sure that (Tokyo Electric) isn’t going to act in a way that will create distrust,” Edano said. Koyama told reporters that radiation alarms went off while the three men were working, but they continued with their mission for 40 to 50 minutes after assuming it was a false alarm. This continued debate about the working conditions for the roughly 500 individuals — among them utility workers, Japanese soldiers and firefighters from several cities — comes as work continued Sunday to cool nuclear fuel at the plant and prevent the further emission of radioactive material into the air and sea.
The Nos. 1, 2 and 3 units have been authorities’ chief focus, since they were the only ones operating (and, thus, the only ones with nuclear fuel rods in the reactor cores) when the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit. Authorities have been trying to restart a steady supply of electricity to power the cooling systems, in order to control the temperatures of nuclear fuel and prevent further radioactive emissions, for that reactor and several other in the nuclear facility. This has already occurred in the Nos. 5 and 6 units, which are considered stable. These units have fuel rods in spent fuel pools, but not in their reactor cores.
Workers trying to cool the reactor at the Japanese quake-damaged Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant have been evacuated over very high levels of radiation. Radioactivity in water at reactor 2 has reached 10 million times the usual level, company officials, cited by BBC, inform. Earlier, Japan’s Nuclear Agency said that levels of radioactive iodine in the sea near the plant had risen to 1 850 times the usual level. It is believed the radiation at Fukushima is coming from one of the reactors, but a specific leak has not been identified.
The plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has been criticized for lack of transparency, failing to provide information more promptly, and making a number of mistakes, including worker clothing. Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), said the workers, who are listed in the hospital over radiation exposure, were wearing boots that only came up to their ankles and provided little protection.
He pointed out TEPCO also knew of high air radiation at one reactor several days before the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant 240km north of Tokyo. Emergency workers are continuing to cool the reactors in an effort to prevent a meltdown. They have now switched to using fresh water, rather than sea water, because it is believed the latter could further corrode machinery. The team of more than 700 engineers has found radioactive water in three of the six reactors.
The US is sending barges loaded with 500 000 gallons of fresh water.
Four of the reactors are still considered volatile. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has dispatched extra teams to the Japanese nuclear plant. Meanwhile, the Japanese government said that airbone radiation around the plant was decreasing.
The plant was damaged in the deadly March 11 9 point on the Richter scale earthquake and the 10-meter tsunami which followed it. China, Singapore, Hong Kong and other Asian importers, Australia, the European Union, the United States and Russia have banned some imports of vegetables, seafood and milk products from Japan. Meanwhile in Japan’s tsunami disaster zone, the military has helped supply food and water and has continued clearing areas to try to recover more bodies. The death toll has now passed 10 000, and more than 17 440 people are missing and there has been a need for mass burials in some areas along the coast.
Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are still housed in temporary shelters. The Japanese government estiamtes the damage cost at USD 309 B.
Alexander: The secrecy around this nuclear event is very disturbing for me. Many have been fouled by the silence and think that everything is ok. In my opinion things have always been very bad and recently turned worst. The question all of us should ask is “what is the truth”?
Here is the original April 30, 1986 ABC News report of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster:
– Well, according to some studies, the Chernobyl event took the lives of about 1 million people in total. And I haven’t had the guts to show you pictures of mutilations resulted from Chernobyl radiation.
1:53 “The picture released today…shows the nuclear fire under control, but a US satellite suggest otherwise”:
– This is the Chernobyl reactor that caused the global disaster. Indeed, it doesn’t look like much, but please remember that radiation is a silent killer.
2:14 “Not a serious health hazard, according to officials”.
– “Only” 1 million deaths, nothing serious…
The ABC News channel hastened to show a danger area map back then (4 days after the explosion):
– Why don’t we have a map of areas/countries likely to be in danger after Fukushima (no matter how small or big, but something to make the people aware of the danger)?
2:51 “Experts say the radiation levels are not harmful in Sweden and in fact are falling”
– A study attributed 800 – 1,000 cancers in Sweden to Chernobyl fallout. Of course, the study had been disputed, because it’s hard to connect a lethal cancer to a nuclear disaster; and of course, our governments have no intention to agree with this kind of studies. But the sudden increase in cancers, leukaemias, etc. is a solid enough evidence.
3:05 Swedish citizen: “I get angry on Russia, that doesn’t say anything”.
– We MUST understand that Japan, China, Russia and US know what is going on, but hide the truth from us. Not to mention the possibility (some say probability) of HAARP involvement in this disaster. Even sadder is the fact that we have the capabilities of constructing world wide networks of clean energy. All actions of our leaders are to kill us and our home planet. And until we face this painful truth, we are not free! We owe this to our children and future generations! Hiding under the bed and pretending that everything is ok, will not save us from the possibility of extinction as a specie.
I suggest you to read this articles:
Fukushima Nuclear Disaster As Bad As Chernobyl According To Swedish Expert + New Radiation Map From France!
4:33 “Officials say that pictures Soviet radio and television is putting out is distinctly lacking in hard details concerning the disasters.”
– Striking similarities with today’s events. All news channels lack in “hard details concerning the disaster” at Fukushima.
4:54 The Soviet Television “assured the viewers that everything is under control…that farms and factories in the area are working normally”.
– Should I remind you that all 45,000 citizens from the city Pripyat had been evacuated and never returned? In total, about 336,000 citizens were relocated from large areas near Chernobyl.
“Stop! Restricted area!” – Sign placed 30 km (18.9 miles) away from Chernobyl (25 years after the disaster).
A good example of how the governments operate in this kind of situations:
5:02 Soviet Expert: “The Soviet population is used to the fact that The Soviet government doesn’t tell them very much when it’s a disaster. When it’s something like this, it’s normal for the government to say nothing until the situation is under control.”
– So, if the situation is not under control today, our governments consider a “normal” approach not to say the truth. Great news, everyone!
Dear friends, my purpose is only to make you aware that our governments are not telling us the truth regarding the Fukushima event and to make you aware of the possible danger. Please, take precautions! I wish you love and health!