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Fukushima Update: Extreme Radiation Detected in Water at #2 Reactor (Update)

John on March 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm

From NHK:

Tokyo Electric Power Company says it has detected radioactive materials 10-million-times normal levels in water at the No.2 reactor complex of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The plant operator, known as TEPCO, says it measured 2.9-billion becquerels of radiation per one cubic centimeter of water from the basement of the turbine building attached to the Number 2 reactor.

The level of contamination is about 1,000 times that of the leaked water already found in the basements of the Number 1 and 3 reactor turbine buildings.

The company says the latest reading is 10-million times the usual radioactivity of water circulating within a normally operating reactor.
TEPCO says the radioactive materials include 2.9-billion becquerels of iodine-134, 13-million becquerels of iodine-131, and 2.3-million becquerels each for cesium 134 and 137.

The cesium levels are more serious because the half life of cesium 134 is about two years and for cesium 137 is 30 years. This means high level contamination of the soil or ocean could create a problem that last for decades.

Update: This is strange. TEPCO is retracting their earlier announcement of extreme radiation, but the new story is worded in a way that doesn’t really explain what it is they are retracting:

The company said on Sunday evening that the data for iodine-134 announced earlier in the day was actually for another substance that has a longer half-life.

The plant operator said earlier on Sunday that 2.9 billion becquerels per cubic centimeter had been detected in the leaked water.

It said although the initial figure was wrong, the water still has a high level of radioactivity of 1,000 millisieverts per hour.

So they transposed the data? But if the data they released was for another substance with a longer half life that would seem to be even worse. Then they’ve changed from becquerels to millisieverts. Strangest of all, they don’t seem to have released the correct numbers. Why is that?

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Category: Foreign Affairs |

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