Fukushima Workers Discover Deadly Spike in Radiation
ENERGY, 2 Sep 2013
Workers at the Fukushima nuclear power disaster site have made an uncomfortable discovery: radiation levels 18 times higher than anticipated at the bottom of a holding tank. The levels are high enough to kill a person within four hours.
So far, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the private firm that operates the shuttered and shattered facility, says the compound hasn’t leaked from the storage tank. But a similar tank already leaked 300 tons of contaminated water, most likely into the Pacific Ocean, and other radiation flows continue through groundwater seepage.
Most troubling: Tepco says it doesn’t know why that radiation spike occurred, an admission not likely to engender much confidence in the firm, already under fire for misstatements, incomplete reports and a general sense that it is ill-equipped to control the persistent problems that began when a tsunami blasted through the site in March 2011.
Judging by this report in The Guardian, being a site worker at Fukushima has to be one of the most dangerous jobs around:
The high radiation levels announced on Sunday highlighted the dangers facing thousands of workers as they attempt to contain, treat and store water safely, while preventing fuel assemblies damaged in the accident from going back into meltdown.
Japan’s nuclear workers are allowed an annual accumulative radiation exposure of 50 millisieverts. Tepco said radiation of 230 millisieverts an hour had been measured at another tank, up from 70 millisieverts last month. A third storage tank was emitting 70 millisieverts an hour, Tepco said. Radiation near a pipe connecting two other tanks had been measured at 230 millisieverts.
Tepco admitted recently that only two workers had initially been assigned to check more than 1,000 storage tanks on the site. Neither of the workers carried dosimeters to measure their exposure to radiation, and some inspections had not been properly recorded.
The new radiation spike was measured at 1,800 millisieverts an hour—36 times the annual exposure Japanese regulators says workers can endure.
And lower levels of radiation continue to seep into the sea as the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster—after Chernobyl—continues unabated.
DISCLAIMER: In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article: