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16 US ships used in Fukushima relief still contaminated with radiation - Navy
The Navy's 25-ship relief effort, Operation Tomadachi, sent sailors near the coast of Japan to assist the area after a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami ravaged the island nation and caused a level 7 meltdown at three reactors in the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
The ships have been subject to cleanup efforts since Operation Tomadachi, though 13 Navy and three Military Sealift Command vessels are still contaminated, Stars and Stripes reported. Contamination in ventilation systems, main engines, and generators are main concerns for the Navy, while spaces on the ships that are considered routinely accessible have been decontaminated, according to Vice Admiral William Hilarides, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command.
“The low levels of radioactivity that remain are in normally inaccessible areas that are controlled in accordance with stringent procedures,” the Navy told Stars and Stripes. “Work in these areas occurs mainly during major maintenance availabilities and requires workers to follow strict safety procedures.”
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