Record radiation levels in Fukushima: exposed person would ‘die almost instantly’

Electric company Tepco says it has recorded lethal rates of more than 500 sieverts at reactor 2 of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, suggesting that « a person could lose his life even in the event of brief exposure ».

Nothing is going well in Fukushima: the operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (Tepco) announced on Thursday that record levels of radiation were detected in the damaged nuclear power plant. The company claims to have noted radiation rates of up to 530 sieverts per hour in the lower part of the containment of reactor 2, one of the most damaged of the six units of the site installed on the edge of the Pacific. A man exposed to such radioactivity would die almost instantly « . The previous reading made in 2012 at another location in reactor 2 was according to Tepco « only » 73 sieverts.

 » It is possible that this astronomical rate is due to the fact that part of the molten fuel is not immersed in the cooling waters. “, as advances Miyano Hiroshi, professor emeritus of Hôsei University who chairs a study commission for the dismantling of the plant and who does not hide his concern about the future of the dismantling operations in progress. Although there is a  » a margin of error (…) of approximately 30% « , the level of radiation  » stay high “, confirmed in particular Tatsuhiro Yamagishi, a spokesperson for Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco).

Remember that according to the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), nuclear workers in a radioactive environment should not be exposed to effective doses greater than 20 millisieverts (mSv) per year, “ averaged over defined periods of five years “, indicates the CPIR, or 100 mSv. Beyond this threshold, the risk of leukemia increases significantly.

Source: AFP, Belgium

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