Nuke Plant Radiation 100K Times Higher Than Normal

Not as high as previously estimated, but still at fearsome levels
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2011 1:18 AM CDT
Updated Mar 28, 2011 7:30 AM CDT
Nuke Plant Radiation Spikes 100K Higher
Smoke billows from Unit 3 at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okumamachi, Fukushima, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Japan Ground Self-Defense Force via Kyodo News)

The good news is that Japanese officials were wrong when they announced radiation in water leaking from the Fukushima nuclear plant was 10 million times higher than normal. The bad news is that radiation levels in fact spiked 100,000 times higher than average yesterday. In current conditions in the Unit 2 building, a worker's exposure to airborne radiation can exceed an acceptable lifetime dose in just 15 minutes, reports the Washington Post. Nevertheless, masked and suited workers continue to struggle desperately in "hellish" dark and steam to restore the crippled plant's cooling system to stave off a nuclear meltdown.

The latest radiation readings marks a new high. Efforts to cool the operation's reactors will likely take months as radiation continues to spew into the environment. Radioactive water continues to pool in four of Fukushima’s six turbine rooms, and workers have no way to quickly clean it up. Experts are now confident that the core of the crippled Unit 3 reactor has not been breached, but there's "no question that water, which could have been inside the reactor, is leaking," said an official. (More radiation stories.)

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