TEPCO detects dangerous radiation level at Fukushima No. 1 reactor

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), detected a potentially dangerous radiation level at the damaged No. 1 reactor of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Kyodo news agency said Monday.

The recent 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami in Japan triggered a number of explosions at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant, which caused the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.

The radiation levels in the building exceed expected levels reaching as high as 700 millisieverts per hour.

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.

A group of nine specialists from the plant’s operator, TEPCO, entered the No. 1 reactor building at the Fukushima nuclear power plant early in the morning on Monday and spent 30 minutes there, measuring radiation levels.

Japanese officials earlier reported that radiation levels had dropped inside the building after ventilators were installed last week to filter out radioactive substances.

As soon as radiation drops to permissible levels, specialists will attempt to restart the reactor’s cooling system, knocked out by the disasters.

TEPCO expects radioactivity levels at the plant to stabilize within six to nine months. The company also says radioactivity levels in the air around the plant will drop significantly within three months.The death toll from the twin disaster has reached 14,919 people, while 9,893 remain unaccounted for, Kyodo news agency reported on Monday citing police data.

Among six prefectures affected by the March 11 disaster, Miyagi registered the highest number of victims – 8,924.

About 119,000 people have been evacuated from the disaster zone and accommodated in 2,400 temporary refuge centers in 18 prefectures across the country.

The Japanese government has said the damage from the disaster could total $310 billion.

MOSCOW, May 9 (RIA Novosti) 

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