Japan Suspends Operations at Fukushima Nuclear Plant …Update: Workers Return to Plant


Blowing off … fire erupts from the stricken nuclear plant at Fukushima, 250 kilometres north of Toyko. Photo: Digital Globe

The Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano announced that operations were suspended at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Workers were pulled from the plant after radiation levels spiked to 3,000 millisieverts.
The AP reported:

Japan suspended operations to prevent a stricken nuclear plant from melting down Wednesday after a surge in radiation made it too dangerous for workers to remain at the facility.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said work on dousing reactors with water was disrupted by the need to withdraw.

The level of radiation at the plant surged to 1,000 millisieverts early Wednesday before coming down to 800-600 millisieverts. Still, that was far more than the average

“So the workers cannot carry out even minimal work at the plant now,” Edano said. “Because of the radiation risk, we are on standby.”

Experts say exposure of around 1,000 millisieverts is enough to cause radiation sickness.

Earlier officials said 70 percent of fuel rods at one of the six reactors at the plant were significantly damaged in the aftermath of Friday’s calamitous earthquake and tsunami.

News reports said 33 percent of fuel rods were also damaged at another reactor. Officials had said they would use helicopters and fire trucks to spray water in a desperate effort to prevent further radiation leaks and to cool down the reactors.

Developing–

UPDATE: Workers ordered to leave a quake-damaged nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan were allowed back in after radiation levels fell.

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