Radiation levels have been detected at the crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant that are being described by some experts as “unimaginable”.
According to the Japan Times Tepco, the company that ran Fukushima, detected atmospheric radiation levels of 530 sieverts an hour.
That’s 100s of times more than a lethal dose for humans and even brief exposure would be fatal.
This will be a major blow to the operator which faces a cleanup that some say could take almost 40 years to complete.
To put that figure into context, just 1 sievert is enough to cause nausea and radiation sickness while 5 sieverts would kill half of those exposed within less than a month.
In fact, the recordings are so high that Tepco’s newly designed robot would last just two hours before its equipment failed.
The astronomical readings were measured by one of its robots which was also able to capture the first clear images of the containment vessel from the crippled reactor 2.
Tepco believes that the hole could have been caused when fuel escaped the pressure vessel after the huge earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011 caused a blackout that disabled the plant’s ability to cool its own reactors.
The resulting nuclear disaster at Fukushima led to a 20km evacuation radius being placed around the site. Over 100,000 people were evacuated and have yet to return to their homes.
Thankfully there have been no recorded deaths as a result of the disaster, but with radiation levels seemingly only increasing Tepco faces an extremely slow and cautious 40 years.