The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear complex is searching for radioactive hotspots after finding record high radiation near an exhaust pipe at the plant.
Tokyo Electric Power said on Monday that over 10,000 millisieverts per hour had been detected at the bottom of the exhaust pipe in between reactor buildings No.1 and No.2. That’s the highest level detected since March when the quake and tsunami disabled the plant.
A photo released on Tuesday shows workers taking measurements with a detector attached to the tip of a 3-meter-long arm. The level of radiation where the workers stood reportedly reached 40 millisieverts per hour.
TEPCO says the exhaust pipe was used when radioactive air was vented from the No.1 reactor’s containment vessel one day after the March 11th disaster.
The company subsequently revealed that the reactor had suffered a nuclear fuel meltdown. The utility believes highly radioactive substances that leaked from the container flowed into the pipe and accumulated inside.
The utility has declared the area off-limits, and is planning to seal it off with mats stuffed with lead.
It will also carefully check whether there are other highly contaminated sites within the premises that may hamper cleanup work.