Fukushima radiation level tests ran this week on seawater taken from outside one of the damaged reactors showed a severe spike in contamination. Officials say the readings rose an alarming 13 times higher than the levels found in the same area only one day before.
This report comes on the heels of requests from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for overseas help with the Fukushima containment efforts, according to Northwest Asian Weekly. TEPCO, the company tasked with repairs and cleanup of the nuclear facility, has faced increased criticism for their lack of clear progress. These new reports will likely only fuel calls for another group to step in.
The new reports from TEPCO say Fukushima radiation readings taken Wednesday of both Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 outside the second reactor rose to 1,200 becquerels per liter. As RT reports, these levels haven’t been matched since late 2011. TEPCO officials explained that the radiation spikes are the result of nearby construction. This construction includes an attempt to form a chemical and soil barrier around the contaminated areas. Officials say doing so caused contaminated soil to fall into the port.
This past Wednesday TEPCO also reported that six workers experienced radiation exposure after removing a pipe containing contaminated water. At least seven tons of radioactive water flowed out, officials say. The workers were tested by TEPCO, who they say were not found to have gotten dangerous doses of radiation.
A recent UN report, however, casts doubt on these findings. According to Reuters, the UN report says TEPCO failed to test the exposed workers properly. They say traces of iodine-132 and iodine-133 exposure could have been missed, as both disappear quickly. Tests on the workers were not performed quickly enough, the UN report says.
Between this and other recent accidents, TEPCO’s ability to deal with the clean up and containment of Fukushima’s radiation leakage have come under severe doubt.