Radioactive iodine-131 readings taken from seawater near the water intake of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s No. 2 reactor reached 7.5 million times the legal limit, Tokyo Electric Power Co. admitted Tuesday.
The sample that yielded the high reading was taken Saturday, before Tepco announced Monday it would start releasing radioactive water into the sea, and experts fear the contamination may spread well beyond Japan’s shores …
Despite alarming new radiation data presented by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the government said Thursday it has no plans to widen the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
The international nuclear watchdog said Wednesday in Geneva it detected about 2 million becquerels of radioactive substances per sq. meter, or double the threshold at which the IAEA itself would order an evacuation, in soil samples from the village of Iitate about 40 km northwest of the nuclear power plant.
With the data, the IAEA effectively urged Japan to expand the current no-go zone of 20 km around the plant. Residents in areas 20 km to 30 km of the plant have been advised to stay indoors.
In order for the workers at Fukushima Daiichi to resume trying to cool the damaged reactors, Japan’s health and welfare minister had to waive the nation’s standard of radiation exposure, increasing the level of acceptable exposure from 100 millisieverts to 250 — five times the level allowed in the United States.
Wednesday night, the State Department announced that it would send charter flights to Japan to assist any of the about 600 American family members of its officials who wished to leave Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokohama.
Kennedy said the charter flights may also be made available to private U.S. citizens who are unable to get flights out of the country.
The National Police Agency released updated numbers Thursday morning: 5,176 people dead and 8,606 missing. But the list of casualties is expected to reach far higher.