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Japan Nuclear Disaster Raised to Level 7 Same Level as Chernobyl

Japan has decided to raise its assessment of the accident at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from 5 to the worst rating of 7 on an international scale, putting the disaster on par with the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown, the Japanese nuclear regulatory agency said on Tuesday.Multimedia GraphicJapanese Officials Expand Evacuation Zone GraphicAssessing the Radiation Danger, Near and Far Interactive FeatureJapan Earthquake and Tsunami MultimediaRelatedPhysicist Reviews Nuclear Meltdowns April 12, 2011City, Destroyed and Yet Hopeful, Begins to Move On April 11, 2011New Doubts About Turning Plutonium Into a Fuel April 11, 2011Enlarge This ImageKoichi Nakamura/Yomiuri Shimbun, via Associated PressOfficials, monks, military officers and other emergency workers observed a moment of silence on Monday in Natori, Japan.Readers CommentsShare your thoughts.Post a Comment »Read All Comments 12 »According to the International Nuclear Event Scale, a level 7 nuclear accident involves “widespread health and environmental effects” and the “external release of a significant fraction of the reactor core inventory.”Japan’s previous assessment of the accident puts it at level 5 on the scale, the same level as the Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979. The level 7 assessment has been applied only to the disaster at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union.The scale, which was developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency and countries that use nuclear energy, requires that the nuclear agency of the country where the accident occurs calculate a rating based on complicated criteria.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Plans Wider Evacuation Around Fukushima Nuclear Plant.