Nuclear, Reactors

Fukushima accident rated as 7, same level as Chernobyl

The ongoing radiological release from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan has led authorities to raise the rating of the accident to Level 7, on a par with the Chernobyl accident in 1986.
A batch of eight safety-related incidents were recorded on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) in the days after a 14-metre tsunami left the site flooded to a level of over five metres, according to World Nuclear News.
Covering both the Fukushima Daiichi and Daiini plants, these concerned the overall effect on the nuclear plants (Level 3), two losses of cooling function (Level 5), one covering radiological release (Level 5), one on loss of cooling to a fuel pond (Level 3) and three more on loss of reactor cooling (Level 3).
These have now been supplemented by an additional rating at the top Level 7, ‘a major accident’. Japanese authorities notified the International Atomic Energy Agency of their decision to up the rating.

In a statement, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said: “As a result of re-evaluation, total amount of discharged iodine-131 is estimated at 1.3×1017 becquerels, and caesium-137 is estimated at 6.1×1015 becquerels. Hence the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has concluded that the rating of the accident would be equivalent of Level 7.”
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