Extremely high levels of radioactivity have been detected in a building beside the No 2 reactor at Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The discovery raises concerns of a fresh obstacle to efforts to stabilise the crisis after it emerged that the No 3 reactor was not likely to have been breached, as feared earlier.
Efforts to repair the cooling systems at the No 2 and No 3 reactors are being delayed by the need to drain radioactive water from the floors, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the plant’s owner, said.
Workers were ordered out of the No 2 reactor building on Sunday after radiation 100,000 times the normal level was detected in water in the turbine housing unit. The level of radioactivity of the surface of the water was more than 1,000 millisieverts (mSv).
The latest data indicate that the Japanese government and Tepco continue to face severe challenges in trying to contain leaks of radioactive substances and stabilise the reactors more than two weeks after a huge earthquake and tsunami devastated the area.
The number 3 reactor at Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is not likely to have been breached, in spite of leakages of water with high levels of radioactive substances, Japan’s chief government spokesman said on Sunday.
However, fears that high levels of radioactivity are leaking from the stricken plant were reignited by the evacuation of workers from the number 2 reactor building after radiation of 10m times the normal level was detected in the turbine housing unit, according to Tokyo Electric Power, the owner of the plant.
The latest data indicate that the Japanese government and Tepco continue to face severe challenges in trying to contain leakage of radioactive substances and stabilise the reactors more than two weeks after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami waves devastated the area.
The government’s Nuclear Industry Safety Agency said on Sunday that the level of radioactive iodine in the seawater off the Fukushima coast near reactor number 3 had risen to 1,850 times the legally permissible level.
Monitoring by Nisa and Tokyo Electric Power showed the level of iodine-131 had risen again after falling on Saturday to 750 times the legally permissible level from 1,250 times that level on Friday........................