Radiation levels inside reactor No. 2 at Fukushima are now so dangerously high that even robots cannot survive inside.
A remote controlled robot sent in to the reactor had to be pulled out after it malfunctioned due to the extreme radiation levels. According to reports, radiation levels are now at 650 sieverts per hour – almost 10 times the amount recorded right after the meltdown occurred.
“I had hoped that the previous results were wrong,” a government source told The Japan Times.
“But it is certain that there is an area with high radiation levels inside the reactor.”
Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the company tasked with the plant’s cleanup, said Monday it found evidence of nuclear fuel debris inside one of the reactors that might be responsible for such severe levels of radiation.
The company has led the cleanup and recovery project since 2011 when a 9.1 earthquake and tsunami caused the worst nuclear disaster since Ukraine’s Chernobyl explosion in 1986.
The disaster caused a blackout at the plant that halted its cooling systems, melting down three of its six reactors.
Continued radiation left a zone of more than 300 square miles around the plant uninhabitable. In December, the company doubled its estimate for the cost of the Fukushima cleanup to $188 billion.
Tepco said it hoped to send in a second robot in the coming days to do a fuller examination and re-measure radiation levels. The full decommissioning of the plant will likely take decades.