Monday, April 11, 2011

Japan crisis level as dire as Chernobyl

Source: Press TV

Japan's new assessment of its nuclear crisis, caused by last month's earthquake and tsunami, reportedly equates the predicament with the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in Ukraine.

The government currently has rated the level of the incident's severity at five, but is to raise that to seven, AFP reported.

On March 11, a 8.9-magnitude earthquake, off the northeast coast of Japan's main island, unleashed a devastating tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks.

The quake set off a nuclear crisis by knocking out power to the cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in central Japan. Since then, most of the plant's six reactor units have been damaged by fires, explosions or partial meltdowns.

The destruction has also been followed by a radiation leak and nuclear fallout has been reported in many places across the world.

In 1986, an explosion and fire triggered the worst nuclear disaster in history in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union.

It resulted in a severe release of radioactivity into the environment, claiming the lives of at least 4,000 people.

The catastrophe has been the only level-seven instance on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

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