Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Japanese Commission: Nuclear Crisis as Bad as Chernobyl

Osha Gray Davidson
April, 11th 2011

The Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission (JNSC) has decided to raise the threat level posed by the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi (FDI) nuclear power plant to equal the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl, according to the state-run television network, NHK.

Previously, the commission held that the amount of radiation released from FDI warranted only a level 5 designation on the International Nuclear Event Scale (which runs from 1 to 7). The 1979 U.S. meltdown at Three Mile Island is also rated a five.

Although the commission believes the total amount of radioactive material released into the environment in Japan is less than what was released from Chernobyl, it now considers the amount sufficient to warrant the highest possible designation because of two additional factors.

  • The scale of the damage to the nuclear facility (four reactors were damaged at FDI).
  • The number of people exposed to radiation.

The JNSC is due to hold a press conference soon to announce the change. It will be broadcast by NHK, here.

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