UPDATE, via @Plutoniumpage: This is a handy guide to what this all means. But as our pal VNDNBRG notes, "Chernobyl had only 1 reactor- Fukushima has 4 with problems-scale is worthless in this situation."
Rachel Maddow just reported that Japan's official announcement about this is expected to come tomorrow morning.
Via Fox (and an AP email alert):
TOKYO -- News reports say Japan has decided to raise the severity level of the crisis at its tsunami-stricken nuclear power plant to 7 -- the highest level and equal to the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union.
Nuclear energy! It's safe! It's clean! It's modern! Tell your friends!
Paddy added this in a separate post, which I'm combining with this one. We managed to simultaneously post the same thing:
Quoting sources at Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Kyodo News agency and public broadcaster NHK both said Tuesday (Monday in Hawaii) that NISA would raise the severity level of the nuclear radiation disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant to 7 from the current 5.
"We have not escaped from a crisis situation," says a Japanese lawmaker. I'd file that under "stating the obvious":
TOKYO, April 4 (Reuters) - Japan's government warned on Sunday it may take months to stop radiation leaking from a nuclear plant crippled by a huge earthquake and tsunami three weeks ago, as more bodies were recovered in devastated areas of northeast Japan. [...]
Japan's crisis has rocked the nuclear industry and the European Union said on Sunday it will affect the fight against climate change as energy policies are reviewed. [ID:nL3E7F3049]
Germany and Switzerland have said they will shut older reactors or suspend approvals, China has suspended approvals for new plants, and Taiwan is studying cutting nuclear output. [...]
Japan's health ministry said on Sunday it had detected radioactive substances higher than legal limits in mushrooms from Iwaki in Fukushima, said Kyodo. [...]
Milk and other staples like mushrooms and berries are still contaminated in parts of Ukraine by radioactive fallout from Chernobyl, 25 years after the world's worst nuclear disaster, Greenpeace said on Sunday.
Of course, none of this was "expected" to happen.
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