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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 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 zozzlhandler on 4/12/2011 8:59:52 PM , Rating: 2
The sun produces radiation (it *is* a nuclear fusion reactor). The earth produces radiation (lots of it at the core). We have evolved in a medium of radiation. I cannot substantiate this, but on logical grounds I would expect a certain (low) level of radiation to be necessary for good health.

If you are worried about cancer (a perfectly reasonable worry, if worrying is your thing), the why not protest burning coal, which releases radioactive materials into the air? Nuclear power would actually reduce the net radiation.

RE: know it alls
By texbrazos on 4/12/2011 10:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but there is a point of too much from too many sources. As for coal, I do protest it, why do you think we have warnings on the fish we eat and the air we breath? Not to mention the strip mining where whole mountains are destroyed. As I mentioned, enough solar hits the earth each day to power the entire world for 25 years.

I will leave you with a quote from one of the greatest minds ever.

"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. what a source of power. I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that."
Thomas Edison 1931

RE: know it alls
By Reclaimer77 on 4/12/2011 10:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
I will leave you with a quote from one of the greatest minds ever. "I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. what a source of power. I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that." Thomas Edison 1931

And if all we had to power was light bulbs, Edison would be right.

Unfortunately for dear old Tom, the sun does not produce much solar energy. Even if our panel technology had a 100% conversion efficiency rating, the amount of power generated wouldn't be enough. I don't know where you are getting this bunk number of one solar day equaling 25 years worth of power, but that's absolutely NOT true.

RE: know it alls
By Gzus666 on 4/13/2011 10:00:37 AM , Rating: 2
He is right that the sun puts out an almost unfathomable amount of solar energy on to our planet (it is a ratio of like 1 hour of solar energy equals 1 year of power usage as a planet) but that is spread across the entire planet.

Basically we are a long way from even coming close to absorbing even a small fraction of that and turning it into useful power. If we ever found a way to really absorb that and turn it into useful energy, sure, we could use solar, but we need storage and solar cell technology to advance leaps and bounds before we can even think about it.

RE: know it alls
By Reclaimer77 on 4/13/2011 5:45:59 PM , Rating: 2
He is right that the sun puts out an almost unfathomable amount of solar energy on to our planet (it is a ratio of like 1 hour of solar energy equals 1 year of power usage as a planet) but that is spread across the entire planet.

Exactly. Sure if we could convert every square inch of surface are into a collector, it would be a lot of power. But umm, yeah, you follow me. Quoting nice numbers like "25 years worth of power" is meaningless.

The amount of USABLE solar energy generated by the sun that makes it way through our atmosphere, in practical terms, isn't even close to addressing our current energy requirement. Let alone 20 years from now.

RE: know it alls
By texbrazos on 4/13/2011 11:37:58 AM , Rating: 2
I along with many can put enough solar panels upon my roof to get off the grid 100%. It would take roughly 30 panels for my home. So, it can be done, and capacity will continue to increase and improve. Panels are already getting smaller, more powerful, and less expensive.
As I mentioned, the tech is there, but the cost is prohibitive to most including myself at this point. Companies such as Natcore solar are at work to bring the costs down and power output up. We also have stirling engine tech. coming back, and currently being installed at the Tessera plant. I think the best and brightest should be fast tracking and making solar affordable for the general public.

RE: know it alls
By Gzus666 on 4/13/2011 9:44:12 AM , Rating: 2
You call Edison one of the greatest minds ever? Seriously? The guy who fought to the death to get D/C power over A/C that Mr. Tesla was pushing? Yea, super genius.

Edison was a smart guy, but hardly even one of the greatest minds ever. Tesla was obviously a contemporary of his and he blew him out of the water. Tesla was a god by comparison.

What about Newton? Do you put Edison even close? Newton was a god by comparison to any man we know to have lived and you will say something as insane as Edison was one of the smartest men to have lived?

Edison had a few good inventions, then he stole the rest from young scientists and engineers that he hired. He was a shrewd business man and a decently smart engineer, but not a super genius, so you may want to take his quote with a grain of salt.

RE: know it alls
By texbrazos on 4/13/2011 11:28:29 AM , Rating: 2
Edison, was one of the greatest minds. I do agree that Tesla was smarter, and he had very similar views to Edison in regards to renewable energy.
"If we use fuel to get our power, we are living on our capital and exhausting it rapidly.
This method is barbarous and wantonly wasteful, and will have to be stopped in the interest of coming generations."
- Nikola Tesla, 1915

The economic transmission of power without wires is of all-surpassing importance to man. By its means he will gain complete mastery of the air, the sea and the desert. It will enable him to dispense with the necessity of mining, pumping, transporting and burning fuel, and so do away with innumerable causes of sinful waste. By its means, he will obtain at any place and in any desired amount, the energy of remote waterfalls — to drive his machinery, to construct his canals, tunnels and highways, to manufacture the materials of his want, his clothing and food, to heat and light his home — year in, year out, ever and ever, by day and by night. It will make the living glorious sun his obedient, toiling slave . It will bring peace and harmony on earth.
Nicola Tesla

RE: know it alls
By Gzus666 on 4/13/2011 1:10:54 PM , Rating: 2
You do nothing but provide other people's quotes out of context to serve your purpose. I have addressed the short falls of solar and wind already. I have yet to see you retort with a functional solution other than what you saw some companies charging people for. Newsflash, companies sell stuff that doesn't work as advertised. You don't get past the shortcomings of solar and wind with high hopes, you have to find a way to store the power since the production is not non-stop.

Tesla didn't have the ability to see that we would advance far enough to produce a freaking sun in a reactor and use its power. Why waste time with solar to get the Sun's power when we can just make them on Earth and use the power directly here? A few fusion reactors and we will no longer care about power production, the issue will be "what do we do with all this power?".

RE: know it alls
By texbrazos on 4/13/2011 2:02:51 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing is taken out of context. These great minds realized this, not me. I am smiply restating what they had said. It is really common sense. You say let's assume some people got killed from nuke, and say so what? That kind of thinking is what gets us into all the distasters, where we are killing our own food chain and destorying our water supplies, and not to mention the air we breath. You probably wouldn't care if it was your own family that was killed or deveoped the cancer either would you?
To serve my purpose? All these fuel sources have been developed for profit. If everyone could make their own energy there would be no profit. Just like JP Morgan dropped Tesla's energy transmission idea because he could not figure out how to regulate and charge everyone for it.

As for making the suns power in a reactor. What happens when they get out of control? Just like the current situation? Don't forget there is still pollution from nuke to the air and water used to cool the reactors. I don't believe for one minute it is safe, to us or our food chain. Like I said, who is to say where all these weird cancers are coming from, do you know it's not from nuke? I doubt it.
Why waste time with solar? Because it could give the majority of us energy independence, from everyone including the electric companies, not to mention it is clean.

RE: know it alls
By Gzus666 on 4/13/2011 7:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
OH NO, NOT PROFIT!!!! No one should ever profit from ideas. There are many shortcomings of wireless power transmission. On top of that, you have to be near a freaking power source. Maybe you didn't get this portion of how Tesla did what he did with the wireless car, but he was NEXT TO FRIGGIN' NIAGRA FALLS.

I say so what to people dying here and there from something because you can't do anything about it now. It was a natural disaster, it killed tons of people, the reactor has killed none at this time and will likely kill no one. People have died from nuclear power, but it pales in comparison to falling in bath tubs and hippo attacks.

Here is an awesome question for you, where do you think the materials for building solar panels will come from? Cadmium Telluride is a major component of solar cells and it is highly toxic, but that is OK, right? Long as you get that hippie high from being self righteous, everything is all cool. Tellurium is also insanely rare, so good luck with that on a large scale.

As for making the suns power in a reactor. What happens when they get out of control? Just like the current situation? Don't forget there is still pollution from nuke to the air and water used to cool the reactors

And this is how we know you don't understand fusion. Read the current research on fusion and you will see how they get around all this. Fusion is not the same as fission, let's figure out the difference.

RE: know it alls
By texbrazos on 4/13/2011 9:57:34 PM , Rating: 2
The shortcomings of wireless? Tesla, did not live long enough to prove it. It appears there is no one that has been able to walk in any of these great minds paths since their deaths. Maybe Bill Gates, but he went a different route.

Not saying that no one should profit, but that is one of the main reasons the current sources were deveopled over the latter.
Everyone in the world lives with and I quote the History channel, "A nuclear sword of damocles hanging over their heads, whether it be madness, miscalulations, or accidents". We are such hipocrites to tell many countries in the world that they cannot have nuke power and weapons, but yet we can. They will have them and this will be it. Terrorist are in hot pursuit of either hitting one of our nuke plants or hitting us with a bomb. It will happen. Not only will it kill lots of people, cause cancers, but it will knock out the grid in many areas. Not so if nearly everyone can make their own via solar, wind, etc.
How do you know the deaths from nuke power pales in comparison when you cannot link all the cancer deaths. In fact there was alot of increase cancers after Chernobyl. How much do you think the Russians revaled? You have no idea, just like I cannot prove otherwise as well. We all know cancer is at all time highs.
Why is that, no one knows, but I would bet it is linked to industrial waste, gasoline, coal, and nuke power.
What really concerns me is the water used to cool the plants is exposed to high levels of radiation and then flows down stream Very few seem to pay attention to this, it is the FOOD CHAIN.

As for the Cadmium telluride panels, there are solar panels that do not use it , not to mention the new stirling engine tech being used in the Tessera plant, which looks very good.

That's funny you think I am a hippie. Far from it, just think we have over looked the obvious answers and common sense for well over a 100 years. Albert Einstein helped develop the first Solar Cells and won awards for it, but was not the first. We have been going down the wrong paths because of profits for way too long. The best and the brightest of the past have all let us know that solar is the answer.

RE: know it alls
By texbrazos on 4/14/2011 1:08:05 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, meant to quote JFK, not history channel. The speach was on History channel last night. JFK's "Nuclear Sword of Damocles speach" that is.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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