Fukushima could exceed Chernobyl


Cooler King
Staff member
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Discharges from the plant may be even higher than admitted.

JAPAN HAS raised its assessment of the Fukushima plant accident to the same level as history’s worst nuclear crisis, admitting that “large volumes” of radioactive substances are being released in the surrounding area.

The decision yesterday to hike the crisis level from 5 to the maximum 7 on a table set by the International Nuclear Event Scale puts the situation at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi complex in the same category as the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

Japan’s Nuclear Safety Agency said that reactors one, two and three had so far leaked just “one-tenth” the volume of radiation as Chernobyl. “It is totally opposite to Chernobyl,” insisted agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama, who said there had been no deaths at Fukushima from short-term exposure to radiation.

A total of 29 deaths are attributed to immediate lethal doses of radiation at the facility in the former Soviet Union, as well as thousands of cancer-linked deaths from long-term exposure.

Official UN figures put the death toll from the Chernobyl disaster at 9,000. Greenpeace and other groups say it is as high as 200,000.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) admitted yesterday, however, that with engineers still battling to bring the plant under control, “our concern is that it could eventually exceed Chernobyl”.

Some experts were taking that startling statement as a warning that discharges from the plant may be even higher than admitted.
Fukushima threat elevated to same level as Chernobyl - The Irish Times - Wed, Apr 13, 2011

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