News releases posted on the Tokyo Electric Power company’s website detailing efforts to cool down the nuclear power core at the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station state there have been elevated radiation levels detected in the vicinity.
For most of the day Friday, Japanese officials were maintaining there had been no release of radiation. Officials announced late Friday afternoon they might vent moderately radioactive vapor from a containment vessel, in order to ease pressure in one of the plant’s containment vessels. Some 3,000 residents have been evacuated from nearby neighborhoods.
But a news release posted on the TEPCO site at 7 a.m. Tokyo time stated: “Measurement of radioactive material (Iodine, etc.) by monitoring car indicates increasing value compared to normal level. One of the monitoring posts is also indicating higher than normal level. We will continue monitoring discharge of radioactive material from exhaust stack and discharge canal, etc.”
The U.K. Telegraph and other news outlets reported late Friday afternoon that the radiation inside the control room of one of the Fukushima nuclear plants had reached 1,000 times the normal level. If that report is accurate, it would suggest radioactive fumes had spread throughout the plant.
Another news release from the company’s website contains the ominous news: “A seriously injured worker is still trapped in the crane operating console of the exhaust stack and his breathing and pulse cannot be confirmed.”
Rescue and repair efforts are being complicated by the danger of aftershocks, and the ongoing need to monitor radiation.
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