Japan Times has reported that radiation levels inside the doomed Fukushima Daiichi No. 1 nuclear power plant have unexpectedly soared to lethal levels, and scientists can’t explain why. Just six hours after the tsunami, radiation levels peaked at 73 sieverts per hour. Now, radiation levels in the number two reactor have risen to a new high of 530 sieverts per hour, the highest level the reactor has emitted since the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami that critically destabilized the power planet.
Exposure to the current level is enough to cause damage to the central nervous system and cause loss of consciousness within minutes, possibly resulting in death in just hours. Despite near-constant monitoring, engineers and safety experts working on behalf of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) do not know what is behind the sudden unexplained spike in radiation levels.
A Tepco spokesman stated to Asia Free Press that the current cause of the spike is still a mystery due to the impossibility of actually inspecting the inside of the reactor:
It may have been caused by nuclear fuel that would have melted and made a hole in the vessel, but it is only a hypothesis at this stage. We believe the captured images offer very useful information, but we still need to investigate given that it is very difficult to assume the actual condition inside.
Robotic cameras were sent to investigate the damaged reactor number two and noticed a massive hole in the grate covering the pressure vessel which houses the reactor itself. The “unimaginable” level of radiation means even robots can only operate inside the reactor for a few hours before their circuits are fried.
Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry, told Japan Times that despite this new apocalyptically-high radiation level, the Japanese government will continue to try and contain the Fukushima fallout through whatever means necessary:
While difficult tasks and unexpected matters may arise, we will mobilize all of Japan’s technological capabilities to steadily implement decommissioning work and rebuild Fukushima.
This spike in radiation is a threat not only to the area immediately surrounding the crippled power plant but to ecosystems and humans around the world. The incredibly high levels of radiation could have unforeseen effects on the entire planet, particularly the Asia Pacific region, that might not be fully realized for decades. I’ll leave the Godzilla jokes for the comment section.