Irradiated nuke worker in hospital: A laborer who had been working to restore power and cooling functions at the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant walks to a special vehicle for radioactive decontamination, while being shielded with a blue sheet to conceal his identity, outside of the Fukushima Medical University Hospital in Fukushima city on March 25, 2011. Three workers were exposed to high-level radiation the previous day while laying cable at the troubled plant. (Kyodo)
Kyoto reports high level radiation may be leaking from #3 reactor core:
High-level radiation detected Thursday in water at the No. 3 reactor’s turbine building at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant appears to have originated from the reactor core, the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Friday.
[...] A day after three workers were exposed Thursday to water containing radioactive materials 10,000 times the normal level at the turbine building connected to the No. 3 reactor building, highly radioactive water was found also at the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors’ turbine buildings.
That water likely indicates “some sort of leakage” from the reactor core, signaling a possible break of the containment vessel that houses the core.
The containment vessel is designed to prevent radioactive material from escaping into the atmosphere, even if other parts of the reactor are damaged. A rupture in the containment vessel could pose problems for workers who are trying to prevent that, depending on its severity.
Japanese officials on Friday began quietly encouraging people to evacuate a larger swath of territory around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, a sign that they hold little hope that the crippled facility will soon be brought under control.
[...] The No. 3 unit, the only one of the six reactors at the site that uses the mox fuel, was damaged by a hydrogen explosion on March 14. Workers have been seeking to keep it cool by spraying it with seawater along with a more recent effort to restart the reactor’s cooling system.A broken vessel is not the only possible explanation, he said. The water might have leaked from another part of the facility.
The news Friday and the discovery this week of a radioactive isotope in the water supplies of Tokyo and neighboring prefectures has punctured the mood of optimism with which the week began, leaving a sense that the battle to fix the damaged plant will be a long one.