Japan Nuke Crisis Raised to Chernobyl Level

Fukushima Dai-ichi may have spilled more radiation than thought

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 11, 2011 6:30 PM CDT | Updated Apr 11, 2011 8:08 PM CDT

(Newser) – Japan has decided to raise the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster from 5 to 7, according to government sources, a severity level only previously seen in Chernobyl, reports Kyodo News. The country's Nuclear Safety Commission today found that at times after the breach, the plant was emitting some 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials an hour. That number is now 1 terabecquerel, but raising the severity level is an indicator of the total radiation that escaped from the plant. The previous Level 5 was the same as the Three Mile Island disaster.

This Sunday, April 10 image shows the damaged reactor building of Unit 4, left, of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
This Sunday, April 10 image shows the damaged reactor building of Unit 4, left, of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.   (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)
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