World Headlines
Japan Ups Nuclear Warning To Chernobyl Level
By Amy Oppenheim
Apr 12, 2011 - 10:41:36 AM

TOKYO—The Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident, following the March 11 earthquake, has been listed as a Level 7 disaster, putting it in par with the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.


Fukushima Daiichi power plant satellite image
Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who pronounced this top-scale danger level, has urged the plant’s owner, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, to bring the effects of this disaster to an end.


More radiation has leaked from the plant than officials originally thought, and as a result, thousands more families will have to evacuate as the danger area grows. However, Kan has promised to provide housing and jobs for those who will need to be uprooted from their homes.


Though the area has been listed in the same Level 7 category as the 1986 accident in Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union, its radiation levels are only 10 percent of what Chernobyl’s were over 20 years ago, and most likely will not cause the same severity of damage to nearby residents.


Prime Minister Naoto Kan
As a precaution, however, more surrounding neighborhoods will be evacuated to ensure no more damage is done. Higher than normal amounts of radiation have allegedly been found in the water and food of these newly affected areas and could potentially harm residents if they continue to live in these conditions. Additionally, small amounts of strontium, one of the most harmful radioactive elements, were also found in the soil near Fukushima Daiichi.


Japan is continuing to work toward stabilizing its nuclear crisis while it repairs the severe damage done to the country last month.

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