New readings at Fukushima have recorded the highest radiation levels seen since the triple core meltdown that occurred in 2011. Readings inside the containment vessel of reactor no. 2 are as high as 530 sieverts per hour, a dosage that would be fatal dozens and dozens of times over if a human were to be exposed to it. The previous high was a still very fatal rate of 73 sieverts per hour.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. (Tepco) tells the Japan Times that the reading was taken underneath the pressure vessel that contains the reactor core. Along with the extremely high levels of radiation-described to the Times as "unimaginable" by expects-inspections found hole in the floor grating under the pressure vessel, where melted fuel may have passed through, perhaps as early as 2011 at the time of the initial incident.
Tepco said on Thursday that the blazing radiation reading was taken near the entrance to the space just below the pressure vessel, which contains the reactor core.Tepco also announced that, based on its analysis of images taken by a remote-controlled camera, that there is a 2-meter hole in the metal grating under the pressure vessel in the reactor's primary containment vessel. It also thinks part of the grating is warped.
It will be a tough problem to solve because the radiation is so horrifically severe. It's enough to kill a human with only very brief exposure but robots aren't safe either. At levels this high, a robot would only be able to operate for two hours before the radiation ravages its internals and renders it useless.
Tepco hopes to find and start removing the fuel by 2021.
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This post has been updated to clarify that the radiation readings, while new, do not reflex any change at Fukushima, but are rather new information coming to light. We regret the error.
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