Japan nuclear crisis raised to highest level
Fukushima crisis reaches same official severity level as Chernobyl
The severity level of the nuclear crisis surrounding the Fukushima plant, which this week was hit by two strong aftershocks, has been raised to a level not seen since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.
Officials from the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan have announced that following radiation readings taken at the damaged plant, the crisis level was raised to the highest level signifying a ‘major incident’ with ‘wider consequences’ than the level before it.
“We have upgraded the severity level to seven, as the impact of radiation leaks has been widespread from the air, vegetables, tap water and the ocean,” Minoru Oogoda from Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.
News of the reclassification comes a day after the Japanese government announced that it was extending the exclusion zone around the plant, evacuating five further communities over the next four weeks.
Two major tremors measuring 7.1 and 6.3 have been recorded in the Fukushima district in the last two days, just a month after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that caused the nuclear crisis hit the country, destroying whole communities and leaving almost 28,000 people dead or missing.