Tepco reminds the world that the Japanese nuclear crisis is not over by finding radiation so strong it could kill a person within seconds or minutes.
- Hot spots shine in this gamma-camera image of the Fukushima nuclear plant. Areas in red are generating radiation in excess of 10 sieverts per hour, enough to kill a person in minutes. (Tepco)
Remember the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant? That place is still so contaminated that scientists are uncovering new and amazing things every day in unexplored locations. Like yesterday, when troubled Japanese utility Tepco (I want to write Pepco whenever that name comes up) announced it had found pockets of radioactivity so intense they could kill or seriously sicken a person within seconds.
The deadly Easter eggs, located near a ventilation stack, are generating radiation on the magnitude of 10 sieverts per hour. Actually, the levels are higher than that, but the dosimeters the Japanese are using stop at 10. That's enough radiation to stop a rampaging elephant in its tracks; the already-high exposure limit prescribed for Fukushima clean-up workers is only 250 millisieverts per year.
The Japanese nuclear team observed these fizzing pockets from afar with a gamma camera, because it's still too dangerous to get within smelling distance of the crippled plant. Tepco has since sealed up the area, and says this discovery isn't that big of a deal. Reports MSNBC:
Tepco, which provides power to Tokyo and neighboring areas, said it had not detected a sharp rise in overall radiation levels at the compound.
"The high dose was discovered in an area that doesn't hamper recovery efforts at the plant," Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto told reporters on Tuesday.