August 2, 2011
LETHAL LEVELS OF radiation have been discovered in areas of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant almost five months after it was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami.
Plant operator the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said radiation greater than 10 sieverts per hour was found at the foot of a ventilation chimney between two reactors, Reuters reports. According to the World Nuclear Association, a single dose of 10 sieverts is fatal, while just half that would kill 50 per cent of people exposed to it.
Radiation above 10 sieverts per hour could not be measured because that is the maximum reading on a Geiger counter, Bloomberg reports. Such high levels can cause the intestines to stop functioning properly and blood vessels to leak, according to radiation expert William McBride.
It is feared that radiation levels could have been this high since the initial disaster on March 11, but have only just been discovered. Al-Jazeera reporter Aela Callan said: “It is now looking more likely that this area has been this radioactive since the earthquake and tsunami but no one realised until now.”