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Fukushima radiation levels spike, company says

By Brian Walker, CNN
updated 6:30 AM EDT, Mon September 2, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • TEPCO found high radiation readings Saturday
  • It said the highest levels measured were so-called beta radiation

(CNN) -- There's been a sharp spike in radiation levels measured in the pipes and containers holding water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.

But the company in charge of cleaning it up says that only a single drop of the highly contaminated water escaped the holding tanks.

Tokyo Electric Power Company said it is confident it can provide safety for workers dealing with the problem.

"We will find out the cause of this issue and make proper counter measures immediately, and continue to make every effort to secure safety of workers," the company said in a statement released Sunday.

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TEPCO found high radiation readings at the contaminated water storage tanks and pipe Saturday. The four locations are the bottom of three tanks and a pipe connecting tanks in separate area.

The highest reading as 1800 millisieverts per hour at the bottom fringe of the tank. 220 and 70 mSv were measured at the bottom of other two tanks. And TEPCO said they found a dried stain under the pipe with 230 mSv/h radiation measurement.

One drop of liquid fell when a staff member pressed on insulation material around the pipe. But TEPCO said no contaminated water leak is expected as there were no change in the water level in tanks.

The enormous tanks are identical to the container that was announced last week to have leaked 300 tons of highly toxic water and sparking a hike to the threat level to "serious."

TEPCO will investigate the cause and look further if there were any leakage.

But TEPCO also took issue with reporting by some news outlets that the new radiation levels were high enough to cause death after several hours of exposure.

It said the highest levels measured were so-called beta radiation, which quickly dissipates over short distances and is easily shielded through the use of thin sheets of metal and foil.

"Since beta radiation is weak and can be blocked by a thin metal sheet such as aluminum, we think that we can control radiation exposure by using proper equipments and cloths," the company added.

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