An internal examination of the Fukushima Daiichi No. 2 Reactor has found that it has "fatally high" levels of radiation, according to a report by the Associated Press.
A year ago, the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan severely damaged the reactor, but many reports thus far have suggested that the lingering effects are less severe than they might have been. Today's report, however, paints a very different picture. Using an endoscope, examiners detected levels of radiation inside the containment chamber of up to ten times the fatal dose.
Junichi Matsumoto, spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co., said the level was "extremely high," so much so that it threatened the life, so to speak, of the endoscope itself, which could only last 14 hours in such conditions. For locating and removing the radioactive fuel during the decommissioning, he said, technicians will "have to develop equipment that can tolerate high radiation."
The reactor was declared stable in December; at that time, the containment vessel was believed to have water at a depth of about 10 meters, but the new report says that the water is only about 60 centimeters deep.
Reactor No. 2 is the only one to have been tested, the AP article said, because the radiation levels in the building are relatively low and there was a slot into which the endoscope could be inserted. Conditions could be as bad, or worse, at the other two. Reactor No. 1 may have had moe fuel breach the reactor core, but radiation at Reactor No. 3 has tested highest.