Fukushima: Big Radiation Spike Was Wrong

Worker fled before taking second reading
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2011 8:22 AM CDT
Japan Nuclear Crisis: Fukushima Dai-ichi Officials Say Massive Radiation Spike Was Erroneous
Evacuees chat near laundry at the main floor of a gymnasium that has turned into an evacuation center in Yamagata, Yamagata Prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, March 27, 2011.   (Eugene Hoshiko)

That big spike in radiation levels 10 million times normal that Fukushima Dai-ichi reported earlier? Inaccurate, red-faced officials at Tokyo Electric Power Co now say. "The number is not credible," says a spokesman. "We are very sorry." The apology came after employees fled the complex's Unit 2 reactor when a reading showed radiation levels had reached 10 million times higher than normal in the reactor's cooling system. Officials said they were so high that the worker taking the measurements had withdrawn before taking a second reading.

The spokesman says officials are taking another sample to get accurate levels. Officials say they still don't know where the radioactive water is coming from, though government spokesman Yukio Edano has said some is "almost certainly" seeping from a cracked reactor core. While the discovery of the high radiation levels—and the evacuation of workers from one reactor unit—again delayed efforts to bring the deeply troubled complex under control, Edano insisted the situation had partially stabilized. "We have somewhat prevented the situation from turning worse," he said. (More Japan earthquake stories.)

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