Radiation Levels 'Extremely High': US Nuclear Official
Watchdog Chief Says Japan Is Understating Dangers
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2011 2:36 PM CDT
Updated Mar 16, 2011 4:04 PM CDT
A notice board reading: "We can't accept evacuees any more due to overcapacity here. Appreciate your cooperation" is placed in front of Azuma Sports Park complex in Fukushima.   (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Koichi Nakamura)

(Newser) – The situation at the Dai-ichi nuclear plant is worse than Japanese officials are acknowledging, says the head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “We believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures," Gregory Jaczko told Congress, while advising Americans in Japan to get further away from the plant than the current Japanese guidelines. The New York Times sees his statements as a "serious split" between Washington and Tokyo over the crisis.

Jaczko singled out trouble at reactor No. 4, asserting that high radiation levels are a result of exposed fuel rods there. His assessment came as a spokesman for the plant operator offered a glimmer of hope, saying that an emergency power line—one that could theoretically revive the electric cooling pumps—is nearly operational. However, he didn't say when it would be fired up, only that it would be "as soon as possible," notes AP.

View 4 more images
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
New Power Line Could Ease Japans Nuclear Crisis is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 15 comments
Mar 17, 2011 12:35 AM CDT
Ya know, as bad as it is now, maybe it will be the final push for the whole world to finally put everything they have into solar, wind, tides,etc. as the world finally realizes that as safe as they try to make these, it only takes one failure in one country to screw up the whole world. Not just radiation, but economically, etc. And not just for decades. That spot will be poison for generations to come. The dead zone.
Mar 16, 2011 7:26 PM CDT
Will this affect the U.S. in any way?
Mar 16, 2011 7:21 PM CDT
I watched a very respect5ed Japanese Engineer today give a candid interview What he says is all that is left to do is poor on concrete over all the reactors There is no way to save the damaged reactors and no way to move the contaminated materials The man said all they would be able to do is encase it all on site to try and minimize the radiation exposure He went on to say it then would slowly permeate the ground water over time, the soil as well as the food chain in time, no way to avoid it This man is a realist He says it will not be as bad as what happened in Russia but worse then 3 mile island After watching all that has transpired I not know in my heart man will never be able to build a totally safe reactor, earthquakes, hurricane, all types of major disasters await and top that off with the fact greed will cause failures in workmanship if built here in America Americans can't even build a tunnel without kickbacks and inferior material being used as was the case in Pennsylvania Japan has high building standards and even they fell short on enacting repairs that may well has prevented some if not most of the damage America would not stand a chance on building a reactor correctly that is error free and until they build one the contractors would live beside with their children for 30 years after construction I would not wish to see another one built I am done with any and all support of reactors no matter the cost of electricity It isn't worth the danger or the pain the Japanese people now face not to mention the rest of the world who also must pay a price for this mess as well Screw Nukes