Fukushima Nuclear Plant Radiation Levels ‘Lethal Within Four Hours’

Over two years after the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed entire towns and left Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant crippled and dangerously unstable, it’s hard to get this issue to rise above all the other news (and noise). BBC News reports that radioactive water leaked into the ground last week, and measurements show levels high enough to “prove lethal within four hours of exposure.” This is a problem that is not going away anytime soon.

And this is the problem with nuclear power. When things work as they should, it’s definitely a much cleaner form of energy than coal or natural gas, but there’s always that problem of how to store the spent fuel rods (something the U.S. has never figured out, they are kept on-site). Because of this, nuclear power cannot be considered 100% clean. But when things go wrong, they go wrong in a big way, potentially devastating tens or even hundreds of square miles. That’s a scary thought when you consider how many nuclear power plants exist in the highly populated North East and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was around 100 millisieverts an hour.

However, the company said the equipment used to make that recording could only read measurements of up to 100 millisieverts.

The new recording, using a more sensitive device, showed a level of 1,800 millisieverts an hour.

The new reading will have direct implications for radiation doses received by workers who spent several days trying to stop the leak last week, the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from Tokyo.

And who in America is going to volunteer to cleanup a nuclear disaster if it happens to us?


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