"Lethal" levels of radiation detected

From Bloomberg news By Tsuyoshi Inajima and Kari Lundgren – Aug 3, 2011 6:54 PM CT

Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported its second deadly radiation reading in as many days at its wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant north of Tokyo.

The utility known as Tepco said yesterday it detected 5 sieverts of radiation per hour in the No. 1 reactor building. On Aug. 1 in another area it recorded radiation of 10 sieverts per hour, enough to kill a person “within a few weeks” after a single exposure, according to theWorld Nuclear Association.

Radiation has impeded attempts to replace cooling systems to bring three melted reactors and four damaged spent fuel ponds under control after a tsunami on March 11 crippled the plant. The latest reading was taken on the second floor of the No. 1 reactor building and will stop workers entering the area.

“It’s probably the first of many more to come,” said Michael Friedlander, who spent 13 years operating nuclear power plants in the U.S., including the Crystal River Station in Florida. “Although I am not surprised, it concerns me greatly; the issue is the worker safety.”

The 10 sieverts of radiation detected on Aug. 1 outside reactor buildings was the highest the Geiger counters used were capable of reading, indicating the level could have been higher, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at the utility, said at a press conference.

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