Fukushima Gets Upgraded to Chernobyl-Level Emergency
Posted on Apr 12, 2011
Japanese officials have revised the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant to level 7, making it the second such disaster in history, the only one since the Chernobyl meltdown. It had previously been described as being on the scale of Three Mile Island, a smaller event.
The plant has so far leaked only a fraction of Chernobyl’s radiation, but one terrifying Reuters report suggests the amount could eventually add up to even more than the 1986 meltdown.
“We have upgraded the severity level to seven as the impact of radiation leaks has been widespread from the air, vegetables, tap water and the ocean,” said Minoru Oogoda of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (Nisa), the government’s nuclear watchdog.
One official from the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), which operates the nuclear plant, said that radiation leaks had not stopped completely and could eventually exceed those at Chernobyl, Reuters news agency reported.
However, a nuclear safety agency spokesman told reporters the leaks were still small compared to those at the plant in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union.
Illustration by PZS based on a graphic by Cary Bass