New hazard in Fukushima: Crippled nuclear plant crawling with Pokémon

© Yoshikazu Tsuno
As if leaking radioactive fuel and contaminated groundwater were not enough, a new health hazard is now coming out of the crippled Japanese nuclear site in Fukushima - and it goes by the name of Pokémon.

The virtual critters from the hit augmented reality game Pokémon GO have been spotted inside the two reactors damaged in the devastating 2011 earthquake. But hey - at least they're not creeping out to conquer the world (any more than they already have).

Japan's nuclear authorities are now worried that dedicated players might just wander into the kilometers-wide contaminated exclusion zone around the damaged nuclear plant to catch Pokémon. The threat is apparently considered high enough that the authorities have issued a special notice to energy companies about securing the perimeter of the site against virtual hunters.

The fear is far from baseless. There have been numerous reports of people getting mugged, injured, discovering dead bodies, and even getting killed after forgetting to watch their surroundings while being immersed in the wildly popular game.

But questions still remain. For instance, who discovered the supposed Pokémon critters inside the reactors? Considering the through-the-roof levels of radioactivity, it's not likely that clean-up workers are walking around staring at their smartphones.

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And, perhaps more importantly, how did the Pokémon get there in the first place? The game's developer, Niantic, claims the area in and around the two crippled reactors is a restricted zone where none of the characters should appear, Forbes reports.