Japan government blasts reactor operator

Japan’s top government spokesman has blasted the operator of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for giving an erroneous radiation reading, calling it “unacceptable”.

On Sunday Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said radiation in puddles in the turbine building of reactor two at the plant was 10 million times higher than normal, before later correcting the information to say it was 100,000 times higher.

Top government spokesman Yukio Edano said: “Considering the fact that the monitoring of radioactivity is a major condition to ensure safety, this kind of mistake is absolutely unacceptable.

“(The government) has ordered Tepco not to repeat this again,” he said.

However he added that he understood workers at the site were probably exhausted from their round-the-clock efforts to avert a nuclear disaster at the stricken plant.

The radiation level in the water puddle at reactor two soared to more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour, forcing the evacuation of workers toiling to restore its cooling systems.

A high level of radiation in water flooding the basement of a building housing the No.2 reactor at the plant is likely to be due to melted fuel rods, Mr Edano said.

“The radiation seems to have come from fuel rods that temporarily melted down and came in contact with the water used to cool the reactor,” he told a news conference.

“Steam may have condensed … carrying water from within the containment vessel.”

His response suggested there was no crack in the reactor containment vessel.

“The air-borne radiation is mainly contained within the reactor building. We must make sure this water does not seep out into the soil or out to sea,” he said.

Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said the emergency was likely to go on for several weeks, with the situation described as “very serious”.

Several countries have banned produce and milk from Japan’s nuclear crisis zone and are monitoring Japanese seafood over fears of radioactive contamination.

:: The March 11 disaster has left more than 27,100 people dead or missing in northeast Japan.
Source: Sky News

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