ALERT -- Fukushima radiation record high...

JAPAN TODAY --

A record radiation level has been detected inside the No. 2 reactor at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, with the estimated reading of up to 530 sieverts per hour, the plant operator said Thursday.

The reading means a person could die from even brief exposure, highlighting the difficulties ahead as the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. grope their way toward dismantling all three reactors that melted down in the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

The plant operator also announced that based on an image analysis, a 1-square-meter hole has been found on a metal grating beneath the reactor pressure vessel, likely caused by melted nuclear fuel that fell through the vessel.

The new radiation level, described by some experts as “unimaginable,” far exceeds 73 sieverts per hour, the previously highest radiation reading monitored in the interior of the reactor.

An official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.

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