The radiation levels inside Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor No. 2 have soared in recent weeks, reaching a maximum of 530 sieverts per hour, a number experts have called “unimaginable”. Radiation is now by far the highest it has been since the reactor was struck by a tsunami in March 2011 – and scientists are struggling to explain what is going on. The previous maximum radiation level recorded in the reactor was 73 sieverts per hour, a reading taken not long after the meltdown almost six years ago. The levels are now more than seven times that amount. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) say the radiation is safely contained within the reactor, so there’s no risk to the greater population. The latest readings were taken near the entrance of the No. 2 reactor, immediately below the pressure vessel that contains the reactor core. These unexpectedly high levels are complicating Tepco‘s plan to decommission the nuclear reactor. The most recent aim was to have workers find the fuel cells and start dismantling the plant by 2021 – a job that’s predicted to take up to half a century. But the levels within reactor No. 2, at least, are in no way safe for humans.
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