Robot Detects Radiation Still Too High for Japan Workers

But Tepco officials say this will not affect their reactor shutdown plans
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2011 4:59 AM CDT
Robot Detects Radiation Still Too High for Japan's Workers
A radio-controlled PakBot robot inspecting the reactor of Unit 3 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant yesterday.   (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

An American robot sent into the crippled nuclear reactor buildings at Fukushima Dai-ichi has detected radiation levels too high for workers to enter, more than a month after a quake and tsunami crippled the plant, reports the AP. Reactor Unit 1 measured 49 millisieverts per hour, and Unit 3 reached 57 millisieverts—US nuclear workers are allowed a maximum of 50 millisieverts per year. "It's a harsh environment for humans to work inside," said a nuclear official.

Nuclear officials said the high radiation will not change their plans have a cold shutdown of the plant within six to nine months. "What robots can do is limited, so eventually, people must enter the buildings," said a Tepco official. The Japanese Defense Ministry said it would send 2,500 soldiers to join the police who are searching for bodies in the debris around the plant, where some 1,000 victims are thought to be. So far only 66 bodies in the area have been found. (More Fukushima Daiichi stories.)

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