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Friday, March 18, 2011

Japan raises accident severity level to 5 in nuke crisis

From Kyodo News :

" Japan raised the severity level of crisis-hit reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to 5 on a 7-level international scale, the same level as the Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979, Japan's nuclear safety agency said Friday.

The provisional evaluation stands at level 5 of the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale for the plant's No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors as their cores are believed to have partially melted and radiation leaks continue, the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

While efforts to cool down the overheating reactors and spent fuel continued a week after the plant was crippled by a massive earthquake and tsunami, Tokyo also reiterated its resolve to do everything to control the situation with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano arriving in Tokyo.

''This is the largest crisis for Japan,' Prime Minister Naoto Kan told Amano at the outset of their meeting in Tokyo. ''Every organization (of the government) making all-out efforts to deal with the problem,'' he said, adding Japan will disclose more information to the international community.

The agency put the level at 3 for the Fukushima Daiichi plant's No. 4 reactor, where an overheating spent fuel pool is also posing risks, and three reactors at the Fukushima Daini plant that have been controlled."

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