New radiation "hotspots" near the Fukushima nuclear plant spiked to their highest levels yet recorded, amid growing concerns that the plant's owner (and the Japanese government) have not done enough to properly clean up the disaster.
Three holding tanks that were built to contain contaminated water left behind after a triple-meltdown in 2011, rose more than 20 percent in the just the last few days, showing levels of 2,200 millisieverts (mSv). According to Reuters. That amount of radiation is enough to kill an unprotected human after just a few hours of exposure, though Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority insists the danger is contained where it is.
Those assurance have not been met with much relief, however, after recent reports that those very same containment tanks were leaking huge amounts water into the Pacific Ocean. It's been roughly two-and-a-half years since the earthquake-tsunami disaster ruined the plant and made the surrounding area nearly unlivable, but the nuclear part of the crisis is still unfolding today. Just yesterday, the Japanese government finally unveiled a $475 million plan to shore up the plant and solve the water leak problem, including an underground "ice wall" that would lock the radioactive runoff in place.
Even if the plan works, the entire ordeal will likely leave the area around Fukushima Daiichi an environmental wasteland and has seriously turned off Japan (if not the whole world) to the promise of nuclear energy. There's certainly no faith left in the Tokyo Electric Power Company and no much more in the ability of the national government to truly handle a crisis.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.