“Unimaginable”: Record high radiation levels at Fukushima plant

“Unimaginable”: Record high radiation levels at Fukushima plant – “Gaping hole” found under containment vessel — Officials now admit: “It’s highly possible melted fuel leaked through” — Concern over radioactive gas leaks

Kyodo, Feb 2, 2017 (emphasis added): Radiation level at Fukushima reactor highest since 2011 disaster — The radiation level inside the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex stood at 530 sieverts per hour at a maximum, the highest since the 2011 disaster, the plant operator said Thursday… The previously highest radiation level monitored in the interior of the reactor was 73 sieverts per hour.

Kyodo, Feb 2, 2017: Record radiation level detected inside damaged Fukushima reactor… The reading means a person could die from even brief exposure, highlighting the difficulties ahead as the government and [Tepco] grope their way toward dismantling all three reactors that melted down…

Nikkei, Feb 3, 2017: Based on the “noise” in the images, the utility estimated that one area of the containment vessel was emitting radiation at a level of 530 sieverts per hour… Tepco previously believed that most of the reactor’s nuclear fuel had been contained in the pressure vessel, based on last year’s muon tomography inspection… But “it’s highly possible that melted fuel leaked through,” said Yuichi Okamura, a company spokesman for nuclear power.

Japan Times, Feb 2, 2017: Tepco finds gaping hole in grate under containment vessel… The hole could have been caused by melted fuel penetrating the vessel… Tepco plans to deploy a robot at the bottom of the containment vessel… to check out the conditions there… The actual condition of the melted fuel remains unknown because the radiation is too high…

Japan Times, Feb 3, 2017: The new radiation level, described by some experts as “unimaginable,” far exceeds 73 sieverts per hour, the previously highest radiation reading monitored in the interior of the reactor. An official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiationin their work.

Mainichi, Feb 2, 2017: [TEPCO said] a hole measuring 2 meters in diameter has been found on a metal grating… Images captured using a camera attached to a telescopic arm on Monday also showed part of the grating has gone. A further analysis of the images found a 2-meter hole in an area beyond the missing section on the structure

NHK, Feb 2, 2017: [Tepco] says its latest estimation of the radiation level inside one of the reactors was extremely high and had the potential to be lethal to a human within a short period of time… An analysis of the images found that the radiation was up to 530 sieverts per hour at a concrete cylinder supporting the reactor… In the latest estimation inside the vessel, the area near its opening logged 50 sieverts per hour at maximum. The operator officials say that there are no leaks of gas with radioactive substances from the containment vessel. Officials suspect that fuel… may be emitting strong radiation inside the vessel.

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