Officials working at the Fukushima plant in Japan have expressed concern over new “lethal levels” of radiation leaking out into the Pacific ocean.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) made the alarming discovery in a reactor containment vessel last month.
Experts found eight sieverts per hour of radiation, while 42 units were also detected outside its foundations.
According to The Independent:
It came as Tepco said the problem of contaminated water pooled around the plants three reactors that is seeping into the ground has caused a major headache in its efforts to decommission the plant…
Mycle Schneider, an independent energy consultant and lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, said that Tepco “hasn’t a clue what it is doing” in its job to decommission the plant. He added that the contaminated water that is leaking at the site could end up in the ocean if the ongoing treatment project fails and cause a “global” disaster.
He said “I find it symptomatic of the past seven years, in that they don’t know what they’re doing, Tepco, these energy companies haven’t a clue what they’re doing, so to me it’s been going wrong from the beginning. It’s a disaster of unseen proportions.”
Mr Schneider added that the radiation leaks coupled with the waste from the plant stored in an “inappropriate” way in tanks could have global consequences:
“This can get problematic anytime, if it contaminates the ocean there is no local contamination, the ocean is global, so anything that goes into the ocean goes to everyone.”
He added: “It needs to be clear that this problem is not gone, this is not just a local problem. It’s a very major thing.”
NHK also reports:
A remote-controlled inspection of the Unit 2 reactor containment vessel last month detected a maximum of 8 sieverts per hour of radiation.
[Tepco] said the radiation reading was taken near what appeared to be fuel debris, the term used to describe a mixture of molten fuel and broken interior parts… radiation levels remain so high that they present a major challenge to decommissioning work.
During the probe, 42 sieverts per hour of radiation was also detected outside the foundations of the reactor. But officials said they have doubts about the accuracy of the reading because a cover had not been removed from the measuring instrument at the time.
They added that they don’t know why radiation levels were lower near the suspected fuel debris than around the foundations. They gave a number of possible reasons, such as that cooling water may have washed radioactive materials off the debris.