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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Elevated radiation levels detected in a US nuclear reactor

After the recent Fukushima accident and the Chernobyl incident that happened 25 years ago, many people have been concerned on the spread of radioactive substances in the environment.
An investigation is being conducted by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) after a nuclear reactor in Ohio recorded an unspecified high level of radiation.
Employees at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant were immediately evacuated on 22 April when radiation levels was found to be rising while the power station was shutting down for a refueling outage, according to NRC in a report by the AP.
The power station is safe and the workers are not believed to have been exposed to high radiation levels said the commission.
It was also reported that the radiation levels surged when the nuclear employees were removing a monitor during start-up and shut down.
The nuclear reactor that is owned by FirstEnergy Corp. in Akron is located 56 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Cleveland.
In a report by the MSNBC, the NRC said, "The special inspection team began work on Monday and will review the circumstances surrounding the higher-than-expected radiation levels in the work area."
"The team will gather data to establish a sequence of events, review the utility’s work planning and engineering actions, determine if there were human performance factors that may have contributed to the event and evaluate the actual radiological consequences including exposure to the workers."

Power plant spokesman Todd Schneider said four contractors did not use the "proper methods" while removing a piece of equipment underneath the reactor. He also said the radiation did not escape the containment building.
One of the workers received a radiation dose of 0.98 milliSieverts (mSv) (98 millirems)--the same as "a couple of x-rays." The NRC puts a limit to 50 mSv (5,000 millirems) per year, in a report by Bloomberg.
Details of this report here.

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