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Fukushima Radiation Release Falls to 100 Million Becquerels/Hour

The amount of radiation being released by the damaged reactors at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has fallen to about 8 million times less than at the height of the disaster, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

The three reactors are emitting about 100 million becquerels an hour, the company known as Tepco said in a monthly update on its so-called roadmap for resolving the worst civil nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986. The update was released today in Tokyo.

Tepco said it expects to stabilize its crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant by the end of the year, maintaining the timetable announced by the government last month. The company has completed tsunami reinforcements at the plant, one of the goals of its roadmap, it said.

The units that went into meltdown after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami will be brought into a state known as cold shutdown by the end of the year, Goshi Hosono, the minister in charge of the government’s response to the disaster, said on Sept. 20. Tepco earlier said the reactors would be stabilized by about the middle of January.

A becquerel represents one radioactive decay per second and involves the release of atomic energy, which can damage human cells and DNA. Prolonged exposure to radiation can cause leukemia and other forms of cancer, according to the World Nuclear Association.

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