At the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, a robot sent into the building housing Reactor No. 1 on Saturday detected the highest levels of radiation measured since the crisis began on March 11.
According to the Japan Times, The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported that radiation levels in the air around Reactor 1 were at 4000 millisieverts per hour, an exposure level equivalent to approximately 40,000 chest x-rays. TEPCO says it has no plans to send workers into the area because of its dangerously high radioactivity.
On Friday, a spokesman for TEPCO announced that steam was rising from underneath the reactor building. That afternoon, Japanese national television carried blurry footage of smoke rising from an opening in the floor.
Underneath the reactor, an estimated 40,000 tons of “highly contaminated” radioactive water have collected in what is known as the pressure suppression containment vessel, and it’s this water that is believed to be producing the steam. TEPCO officials warn that the water will begin to overflow from the storage vessel by June 20 as it reaches its maximum capacity, sooner if there are heavy rains.