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The Chernobyl explosion in 1986 was the only nuclear disaster to be rated a Level 7 until now  (Source: Wordpress)
The Chernobyl explosion in 1986 was the only nuclear disaster to be rated a Level 7 until now

The nuclear crisis in Japan has had a roller coaster of reports since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck on March 11. For instance, CNN and MSNBC.com were caught embellishing their stories early on, trying to make the nuclear danger seem worse than it was. Now, new reports are saying that Japanese officials may be downplaying the amount of radiation released, since the Japanese nuclear regulatory agency has now put the Fukushima Daiichi disaster on the same level as the 1986 Chernobyl explosion.  

The Chernobyl disaster occurred in 1986 when an explosion led to fire that released large amounts of radioactive particles into the atmosphere. This event was the only nuclear disaster in history to be rated a 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, but now, the Japanese nuclear regulatory agency has changed Japan's nuclear crisis from a 5 to a 7 on the scale as well.

"This is an admission by the Japanese government that the amount of radiation released into the environment has reached a new order of magnitude," said Tetsuo Iguchi, a professor in the department of quantum engineering at Nagoya University. "The fact that we have now confirmed the world's second-ever Level 7 accident will have huge consequences for the global nuclear industry. It shows that current safety standards are woefully inadequate."

As of now, Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director general of Japan's nuclear regulator, says the total amount of radioactive materials released from the plant equals 10 percent of what was released in Chernobyl. Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission noted that 370,000 to 630,000 terabecquerels of radioactive material has been released from Nos. 1 to 3 reactors.  

According to the International Nuclear Event Scale, a Level 7 is described as having "widespread health and environmental effects." The announcement that Japan is now a Level 7 came as Japan was pushing more citizens to evacuate areas near the Fukushima Daiichi plant because of long-term radiation exposure fears. People living within a 12-mile radius of the plant were already ordered to evacuate early on, but now, government officials have ordered those living within a 19-mile radius to stay inside or evacuate the area. 

In addition, communities beyond the 19-mile radius have been evacuated as well due to how the radiation is spreading. Different variables like wind can determine where the radiation spreads. For instance, a community called Iitate, which is "well beyond the 19-mile radius," has had high radiation readings because of wind from the plant. The government is also looking to evacuate Katsurao, Kawamata, Minamisoma and Namie within one month because of concerns regarding long-term radiation exposure. If the conditions grow worse, Naraha, Hirono, Tamura, Kawauchi and other sections of Minamisoma will be evacuated as well. 

"This measure is not an order for you to evacuate or take actions immediately," said Yukio Edano, chief cabinet secretary. "We arrived at this decision by taking into account the risks of remaining in the area in the long term." 

With both the Chernobyl explosion and Japan's nuclear crisis on the same level on the International Nuclear Event Scale, some are worried that Fukushima may become worse than Chernobyl. For instance, Junichi Matsumoto, a nuclear executive for Tokyo Electric Power Company, said his biggest concern is that radiation levels could exceed Chernobyl at some point. But there are some clear distinctions between the two events that make his claim extremely unlikely. The most important difference between Chernobyl and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis is that most of the radioactive elements in Fukushima's reactors were contained within the reactors. 

"If everything inside the reactor came out, obviously that would surpass Chernobyl," said Seiji Shiroya, a commissioner and the former director of the Research Reactor Institute at Kyoto University. "There was only one troubled reactor there, while we have three or more, so simply speaking, that's three times as worse. But at Fukushima, most of the reactors' radioactive elements remained within the reactor. That's a big difference."

The health effects from Chernobyl are expected to remain worse than Japan's health effects as well. Thirty-one people died in Chernobyl while 20 workers were injured at Fukushima. In addition, Dr. Robert Peter Gale, who led the international medical team responding to Chernobyl, said that if the nuclear crisis in Japan did not become any worse, there would be few, if any, thyroid cancer cases and 200 to 1,500 other cancer cases combined over the next 50 years. In Chernobyl, there were 6,000 excess cases of thyroid cancer alone.  

In regards to whether the Japanese government was downplaying the amount of radiation released, reports indicate that the Japanese government did not have an exact idea of the amounts of radiation released in the early weeks of the event, and "last week had the amounts down to an error margin within several digits."  

"Some foreigners fled the country even when there appeared to be little risk," said Shiroya. "If we immediately decided to label the situation as Level 7, we could have triggered a panicked reaction."

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday evening that Japan will rebuild, and that reactors were being stabilized despite this new decision to place the nuclear disaster at a Level 7. He also noted that radioactive material release is declining. In addition, he ordered Tokyo Electric to present new plans for the Fukushima Daiichi plant. 

"What I can say for the information I obtained - of course the government is very large, so I don't have all the information - is that no information was ever suppressed or hidden after the accident," said Kan. 

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, it measured radiation this past Saturday of 0.4 to 3.7 microsieverts per hour in areas located 20 to 40 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. 



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RE: know it alls
By Gzus666 on 4/12/2011 8:27:26 PM , Rating: 2
This is just drivel. Studies don't mean crap, anyone with basic understanding of logic knows correlation does not equal causation. Cancer caused by radiation is due to damage of DNA in a cell and that cell reproducing out of control. Depending on the type of cancer and the radiation level and type exposed, it could increase the risk, but so can being out in the sun too long. Maybe you didn't know this, but the Sun bombards you with radiation all day, every day.

As for solar, what do you do on cloudy days? What about night? What do you do in places that barely get any sun? What about the abysmal output? Solar works great when you are in space for satellites, less so on this planet. When it becomes viable, people will jump on it. I love the idea of solar, but it isn't there yet.

Wind farms? You must be joking. What do you do when there is no wind? How do you reasonably transfer the power? You might as well just get some gerbils to run on wheels.

Fission is the future, fusion is the now. Solar may supplement our houses for backup power.


RE: know it alls
By texbrazos on 4/12/2011 9:40:38 PM , Rating: 2
Excactly, cancer is exactly what you said, nuke cancer is no different than any other so. I again ask what is to say that weird cancer you or your family member got was not caused by nuke radiation, industrial waste?

As for solar, it is there. It is just a big one time expense. It will continue to improve. Cloudy days still charge,., just not as well. You would either feed your excess into the grid or into a battery, and or battery capacitor bank for storage. When configuring solar you want to figure for night and cloudy days and install extra panels.
Wind, there is usually wind blowing at around 50 feet most areas. I have never been to the Texas coast and not had a constant wind, not to mention the use of wave power. We have overlooked the obvious for too long. I believe.it is greed that has kept us at the status Quo.

And for your mention of gerbils running a wheel, in my opinion, we could employ a lot of people and horses turning generators. Prisons? We have plenty of both.. I am sure I will take some flak for that one, but really think about it. We are being held hostage by big energy cos and big oil


RE: know it alls
By Gzus666 on 4/12/2011 10:51:13 PM , Rating: 2

quote:
Excactly, cancer is exactly what you said, nuke cancer is no different than any other so. I again ask what is to say that weird cancer you or your family member got was not caused by nuke radiation, industrial waste?


Who's to say it wasn't fairies or magic potato feet? Speculation gets you no where, you have not addressed the fact that the radiation is minimal and dispersing into a freaking ocean, not a bathtub. Let's assume some people died of cancer from nuclear, so what? People die from every major advancement, that is no reason not to use it. Even better was this was a natural disaster, the disaster killed people, the nuclear disaster did not. You are fear mongering, let the people who understand physics actually figure out the dangers, not the laymen.

What batteries are you storing all this energy in? If you give it back to the grid, you still have to be on the grid. Nuclear will produce more power for considerably cheaper. As you stated, solar is cost prohibitive. The technology isn't there yet.

Either way, Nuclear fusion will take over all these methods. Once we perfect fusion, we will have more power than we know what to do with.

As for the slave labor, go nuts, could be your business platform.

We aren't being held hostage, go get a damn degree and start helping advance fusion reactors. Instead you will sit and armchair complain while the people who make a difference get things done.


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