Radiation Soars to Lethal Levels at Fukushima
18 times worse than previously thought
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2013 1:55 PM CDT
Japanese Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, right, in protective gear inspects storage tanks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News, Pool)

(Newser) – New tests at Fukushima have found radiation levels around its tanks are up to 18 times worse than previously thought—high enough to kill someone within four hours of exposure, reports the BBC. What's caused the alarming spike? More accurate measuring equipment, says plant operator TEPCO. The previous equipment could only read up to 100 millisieverts an hour. Its estimation of the radiation level at the time? 100 millisieverts an hour. The new equipment recorded readings of up to 1,800 millisieverts an hour.

TEPCO also says there was a recent leak in one of the tanks—but insists only a single drop of radioactive water escaped. It says the drop fell when someone pressed the insulation around the pipe at the bottom of the tank, CNN reports. The tank is identical to the one that has already leaked 300 tons of water. In related news, a new study estimates that the radioactive plume of water released by the 2011 disaster will hit US waters in early 2014 and peak in 2016, reports NBC News. Fortunately, ocean currents will have diluted the radioactive material down to safe levels by then.

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Showing 3 of 24 comments
Sep 2, 2013 8:29 PM CDT
Perhaps the currents will dillute the radioactivity by the time it get to the US but what about MONSTER ISLAND??????
Sep 2, 2013 5:06 PM CDT
Why not just remove the story since you removed many of the comments. I don't have a clue why mine were removed as they were completely innocuous. Do we have an agenda, Newser?
Sep 2, 2013 1:27 PM CDT
It would be wondrous indeed if we had a way to directly convert radiation into usable energy. This would be a great place to implement that sort of technology.