12 Apr '11, 12am

Japan to raise nuclear severity level to maximum

TOKYO: Japan upgraded its nuclear emergency to a maximum seven on an international scale of atomic crises on Tuesday, the first time the highest ranking has been invoked since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The regrading to a "major accident" with "widespread health and environmental effects" puts Fukushima on a par with the world's worst ever peacetime nuclear event 25 years ago in the then Soviet Union. Japan's Nuclear Safety Agency said radiation emissions from the Pacific coast plant, whose cooling system was knocked out by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, were equal to 10 percent of the Chernobyl catastrophe. Safety agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama said, however, that the two events were markedly different. "In Chernobyl, there was acute exposure to a high level of radiation, and 29 people died from it. This is not the case in Fukushima," he said. "In ...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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