December 08, 2013
Outdoor radiation levels have reached their highest at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant,warns the operator company.Radiation found in an area near a steel pipe that connects reactor buildings could kill an exposed person in 20 minutes,local media reported.
The plant’s operator and the utility responsible for the clean-up Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) detected record radiation levels on a duct which connects reactor buildings and the 120 meter tall ventilation pipe located outside on Friday. TEPCO measured radiation at eight locations around the pipe with the highest estimated at two locations – 25 Sieverts per hour and about 15 Sieverts per hour, the company said.
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 earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that hit Japan’s coast, damaging the Fukushima Daiichi plant and causing the meltdown of three nuclear reactors. The crippled reactors burnt through the concrete basement while the water used to cool them has been leaking into the soil and contaminating the ground water on the premises of the nuclear facility. The radioactive water stored at the site has been seeping into the Pacific Ocean.
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.