A Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) study has detected deadly levels of radiation near the fifth floor of the reactor buildings of Units 2 and 3 at the Fukushima NPP, Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Wednesday.

According to the interim report, the lids on top of the second and third reactor containment vessels are contaminated with high levels of radioactive Caesium 137. According to the NRA, the radiation levels near the lids could reach up to 10 Sieverts p.h. – which can be fatal for a person who has spent just one hour there.

© AP Photo / Pablo M. Diez/Pool
In this Oct. 12, 2017, photo, ever-growing amount of contaminated, treated but still slightly radioactive, water at the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant is stored in about 900 huge tanks, including those seen in this photo taken during a plant tour at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo

Originally, Tokyo had planned to start removing melted fuel debris from Unit 2, the first of three reactors, later in 2021 – 10 years after the catastrophe. However, in December 2020, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the Japanese government announced a delay until 2022, as the development of robots for debris removal was held back by the pandemic.

At the same time, NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa called the reports “extremely serious”, stressing that they would make melted fuel removal “more difficult”.