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Radiation monitors broke in Japan disaster: report
TOKYO, May 28 (AFP) May 28, 2011
Most radiation monitoring systems near Japan's Fukushima atomic power plant broke down after the earthquake and tsunami which triggered the nuclear crisis, Kyodo news agency said Saturday.

In Fukushima prefecture, 22 out of the 23 monitors around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant and nearby Fukushima Daini stopped sending data about three hours after the massive March 11 quake as the crisis unfolded, it said, quoting prefectural officials.

Some were destroyed by the quake or tsunami but disruptions to communication lines and power supplies were the main causes of the breakdowns, one official told Kyodo.

Monitors with satellite line backups also failed to send data, with their antennas probably hit by the disasters.

The quake-tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which has leaked high levels of radiation into the environment with meltdowns in three of its reactors.

In neighbouring Miyagi prefecture, home to the Onagawa nuclear plant, four out of seven monitors broke down. The other three transmitted data via satellite connections but failed after about five hours, officials quoted by Kyodo said.

Monitors measuring radiation levels around the Tokai Daini nuclear plant in Ibaraki prefecture also failed when their emergency batteries died 20 hours after the disaster, with no data for three hours until power was restored.

"It is a general rule that radiation levels near the facilities are always monitored. It is a problem that all the equipment broke down," an official of Ibaraki's radiation monitoring centre told Kyodo.

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