JAPAN DISASTER: Nuclear crisis level on par with Chernobyl

12 April 2011 04:36  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has raised the severity of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex to a level 7 from 5, equal to that of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, media reports said on Tuesday.

A level 7 accident is typified by a “major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects,” according to the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.

The scale, published by the International Atomic Energy Agency, ranks nuclear and radiological accidents and incidents by their severity, from 1 to a maximum of 7. 

Operators at the Fukushima nuclear plant have been struggling to regain control of the facility after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami crippled several of its reactors on 11 March.

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck Fukushima prefecture on Monday evening, temporarily cutting power and forcing workers to evacuate the nuclear plant.

Japan’s government on Monday widened its evacuation zone surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi complex, selecting towns within 31km (19 miles) of the nuclear facility for mandatory evacuation.

The area of the evacuation zone has been widened from the 12-mile radius initially announced by the government.

The Fukushima nuclear plant site has also been experiencing strong aftershocks, with the latest having a magnitude of 6.3, which struck off the coast of Chiba, 77km northwest of Tokyo, on Tuesday morning.

Some 28,000 people are dead or missing following the natural disasters on 11 March, according to official police data.

Click here for the latest news on the Japan disaster

By: Nurluqman Suratman

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.

Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.

Printer Friendly