Kyodo News, Tokyo, Mar 18, 2011
Japan's nuclear safety agency said Friday that it has raised the severity level of the country's nuclear accident involving the Fukushima Daiichi [i.e., No. 1] nuclear power station to 5 from 4 on a 7-level international scale.
The provisional evaluation would mean that the country's disaster has come to the same level as the Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979. [Full story]
(The Chernobyl disaster of 1986 was ranked a Level 7. For information on Japan's nuclear crisis and its impact, please see my posts under the category/label "Japan." UPDATE: Japanese authorities said Tuesday/Apr 12 they do not expect the radioactive release from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to heavily increase amid the ongoing restoration efforts, although they recognized the disaster has reached the highest severity level of 7 on an international scale. The government, however, stressed that Japan's situation is different from Chernobyl, as the amount of the radioactive substances released from the Fukushima plant is so far about 10 percent of that from the former Soviet nuclear plant---please see Kyodo News, Apr 12, 2011, here. -- D.R.)