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Thursday, three radiation workers were exposed to highly contaminated water. Today, TEPCO released the isotope profile from a sample taken from the site. These numbers could be consistent with a leak from the core.

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My field of expertise is physics, and this profile looks grave to me.

The Guardian Reports:

"The contaminated water had 10,000 times the amount of radiation as would be found in water circulating from a normally operating reactor," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for Japan's nuclear safety agency. "It is possible that there is damage to the reactor."

Officials are preparing for the dire possibilty that the reactor core infrastructure was damaged. In any case, the numbers look really bad. These are blisteringly hot isotopes at very high levels. This isn't optimistic news.

Japan's prime minister is now claiming that the situation is dire.

Speaking through an interpreter, prime minister Naoto Kan says the situation there remains grave and unpredictable, but he has paid tribute to the plant workers in an address to the nation.

"We are trying to prevent a deterioration of the situation and we are still not in a position where we can be optimistic," he said.

Water with high radiation levels was also found in the Unit 1 reactor building, and they are testing water discovered in Units 2 and 4. They are investigating possible sources other than a core leak, such as overfilling the pools with cooling water. Japan's Prime Minister:

"The situation today at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant is still very grave and serious. We must remain vigilant," a somber Prime Minister Naoto Kan said. "We are not in a position where we can be optimistic. We must treat every development with the utmost care."

Originally posted to rb137 on Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 03:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK and Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs.

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