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Radiation levels at Fukushima 18 times higher than previously admitted to

From The Guardian, September 1st: "Radiation levels 18 times higher than previously reported have been found near a water storage tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing fresh concern about the safety of the wrecked facility.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said radiation near the bottom of the tank measured 1,800 millisieverts an hour – high enough to kill an exposed person in four hours."

The stricken reactors have been leaking radioactively contaminated water into the ocean since the disaster first began on March 11, 2011, with unknown consequences to sea life and the surrounding ecosystems.

TEPCO has finally admitted that  a toxic mixture of groundwater and water being used to cool melted fuel lying deep inside the damaged reactors was seeping into the sea at a rate of about 300 tonnes a day. There is little confidence left in the utility's ability to manage the current crisis let alone the future prolonged decommissioning process.

The Guardian reported that: "The high radiation levels announced on Sunday highlighted the dangers facing thousands of workers as they attempt to contain, treat and store water safely, while preventing fuel assemblies damaged in the accident from going back into meltdown.

"Japan's nuclear workers are allowed an annual accumulative radiation exposure of 50 millisieverts. Tepco said radiation of 230 millisieverts an hour had been measured at another tank, up from 70 millisieverts last month. A third storage tank was emitting 70 millisieverts an hour, Tepco said. Radiation near a pipe connecting two other tanks had been measured at 230 millisieverts."

Pictured: A TEPCO employee works around the water tanks. . Photograph: Noboru Hashimoto/EPA.