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Fukushima Radiation Leaks Reach Record Levels

Japanese nuclear officials said on September 4 that radiation levels near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have reached a new high, measuring 20 percent above the previous peak. Officials said a few hours of unprotected exposure to the contaminated areas could be fatal. TEPCO, the plant's operator, is installing additional tanks to store contaminated water that is collecting at the plant, while the government is allocating some $473 million for further decontamination measures. (14 PHOTOS)

Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) employees with protective suits and masks inspect makeshift tanks storing contaminated water at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
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Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) employees with protective suits and masks inspect makeshift tanks storing contaminated water at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

An aerial view of the Fukushima plant and its contaminated water storage tanks. In August, TEPCO said that 300 tons of water had leaked from one of the tanks.
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An aerial view of the Fukushima plant and its contaminated water storage tanks. In August, TEPCO said that 300 tons of water had leaked from one of the tanks.

Japan's Economy, Trade, and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi (center) visits the crippled Fukushima plant.
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Japan's Economy, Trade, and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi (center) visits the crippled Fukushima plant.

Workers in protective suits and masks stand atop contaminated water storage tanks.
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Workers in protective suits and masks stand atop contaminated water storage tanks.

A worker sits in the service building for two of the reactors.
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A worker sits in the service building for two of the reactors.

A shore barrier is under construction to stop radioactive water from leaking into the sea. A new containment plan calls for a frozen barrier in the ground, created by liquid coolant, designed to keep ground water from being contaminated.
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A shore barrier is under construction to stop radioactive water from leaking into the sea. A new containment plan calls for a frozen barrier in the ground, created by liquid coolant, designed to keep ground water from being contaminated.

A site on the shore barrier intended to stop radioactive water from leaking into the sea.
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A site on the shore barrier intended to stop radioactive water from leaking into the sea.

Local resident Takeshi Takaki, 71, and his dog stroll on the beach about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the nuclear power plant. The city of Iwaki closed its beach to the public during the summer season for the first time since the March 2011 earthquake that damaged the nuclear plant.
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Local resident Takeshi Takaki, 71, and his dog stroll on the beach about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the nuclear power plant. The city of Iwaki closed its beach to the public during the summer season for the first time since the March 2011 earthquake that damaged the nuclear plant.

Workers move bags of contaminated soil and debris to a storage site in Naraha.
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Workers move bags of contaminated soil and debris to a storage site in Naraha.

A no-entry sign in the town of Naraha, inside the 20-kilometer radius around the crippled plant that was temporarily a no-go zone.
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A no-entry sign in the town of Naraha, inside the 20-kilometer radius around the crippled plant that was temporarily a no-go zone.

Workers move bags of waste containing soil, leaves, and debris to a storage site in Naraha. The Japanese government is seeking a site for permanent storage of radioactive refuse.
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Workers move bags of waste containing soil, leaves, and debris to a storage site in Naraha. The Japanese government is seeking a site for permanent storage of radioactive refuse.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (third from left) speaks during a meeting with nuclear authorities on September 3.
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (third from left) speaks during a meeting with nuclear authorities on September 3.

An aerial view of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and its contaminated water storage tanks
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An aerial view of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and its contaminated water storage tanks

Local residents fish in Iwaki, about 40 kilometers south of the nuclear power plant.
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Local residents fish in Iwaki, about 40 kilometers south of the nuclear power plant.

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