Sunday, March 27, 2011

Japan Nuclear Workers Struggle With Radioactive Water

TOKYO—Workers at Japan's troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex continued Sunday to struggle to contain highly radioactive water that is hampering work to restore vital systems, as they also tried to prevent further spreading of radioactive materials to surrounding areas.

But it was unclear late Sunday night just how severe the problem really was. Earlier in the day, workers were evacuated from one of the reactors when the company running the plant announced that radiation had been detected at an eye-popping 10 million times normal levels. But later Sunday evening, a spokesman for the plant's operator—Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco—said the utility company was "re-analyzing the figure after it was pointed out internally and also by the Nuclear Safety Commission that it might be calculated incorrectly."

The spokesman, Hiro Hasegawa, said a new figure would be issued sometime after midnight Japan time.

"The Tepco numbers were a bit odd or strange," Hidehiko Nishiyama, a senior official at Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, or NISA, told reporters earlier in the evening.

Radiation Levels in Japan

The Japanese government monitors radiation levels around the country. Track these measurements over time.

Reactor Monitor

The reported rise in radioactivity added to concerns that efforts to keep nuclear fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi facility from overheating and sustaining further damage, which increases the risk of greater radiation leaks, may suffer further delays.


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