Radioactive debris hampers efforts to cool reactor at Japan quake-hit nuke plant

The operator of Japan’s quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is facing the challenge of removing highly radioactive debris to proceed with the efforts to stabilize the Number 3 reactor, NHK television channel reported on Sunday.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on Friday found debris releasing 1,000 millisieverts per hour in an area south of the Number 3 reactor. This is the highest level of radiation found in debris left outside.

Materials emitting 900 millisieverts of radiation per hour have also been found in the plant’s compound. The materials are believed to be part of the large amount of debris contaminated with radioactive substances that had been blown off in hydrogen explosions, the TV channel said.

A level of radiation at 500 millisieverts per hour may cause cancer, while an acute radiation sickness begins with a dose of 1 sievert and chronic radiation sickness – from 1.5 sievert.

In the area around the Number 1 reactor where the removal of debris is under way, radioactivity fell to nearly half the reading of early April, the TV channel said.

An earthquake and a tsunami that swept northeastern Japan two months ago damaged the cooling system at Fukushima, which resulted in serious meltdown. In mid-April, Japan’s nuclear authorities assigned the highest level of danger to the Fukushima nuclear disaster for the first time after the devastating Chernobyl nuclear accident in the Soviet Union in 1986.

MOSCOW, May 22 (RIA Novosti)

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