Daily Archives: April 12, 2011

Japan quake, tsunami, nuke news 17: Fukushima is now officially “a Chernobyl”

The most significant news seems to be the raising of the level of this accident, on the international scale of how bad things get at nuclear power plants, to the highest level, which is also the level set for the Chernobyl accident. This does not mean that the Fukushima Disaster is the same as the Chernobyl disaster. They are different situations, different technologies, and different things going wrong. However, it is now official: On the scale from TMI to Chernobyl, Fukushima is officially Chernobyl. But different.

An earthquake on April 7th had knocked out power at the Fukushima reactor, and that was restored yesterday. A major effort is now underway to remove contaminated water from reactor buildings 1,2 and 3, taking water out of internal storage tanks to make room for highly contaminated water that will e stored on site. Nitrogen gas is being pumped into Unit 1’s containment vessel to avoid a hydrogen explosion. A fire has been reported from somewhere at the facility but apparently, it went out or was put out. Debris is being removed and water is being injected into various containers. Temperature levels in three of the units are higher than they should be, and pressure in unit 1 is lower than it should be indicating a leak.

According to the IAEA:

On 10 April, deposition of both iodine-131 and cesium-137 was detected in 7 and 6 prefectures respectively. The values reported for iodine-131 ranged from 6.3 to 920 Bq/m2 and for cesium-137 from 7.9 to 800 Bq/m2. The highest deposition was reported for both, iodine-131 and cesium-137, in the prefecture of Ibaraki. /p>

Gamma dose rates are measured daily in all 47 prefectures, the values tend to decrease. For Fukushima, on 10 April a dose rate of 2.2 µSv/h, for the Ibaraki prefecture a gamma dose rate of 0.15 µSv/h was reported. The gamma dose rates in all other prefectures were below 0.1 µSv/h.

Dose rates are also reported specifically for the Eastern part of the Fukushima prefecture, for distances of more than 30 km to Fukushima-Daiichi. On 10 April, the values in this area ranged from 0.2 to 25 µSv/h.

There is still radiation offshore but levels seem to be decreasing.

Ana’s Feed

TEPCO plans to commence Operation Nitrogen Injection this evening. (NHK) April 5 at 11:27pm

This is in an effort to neutralize accumulations of hydrogen that will otherwise explode. They will start at reactor no.1, and if all goes well, will move on to nos.2 and 3. (NHK)

Japanese Pluto-kun plutonium is safe anime propaganda from mid 1990s h/t eddie April 5 at 11:54pm

  • “he aspires to be like dynamite, – safe for all mankind” !!! April 6 at 12:09am

â??”[NISA] said it ordered…TEPCO to keep monitoring the pit to check whether the water leakage has completely stopped…the water, which has lost an outlet, may show up from other areas inside the plant’s premises.” Highly radioactive water leaking into sea stops: TEPCO | Kyodo News April 6 at 12:35am

Govt considering safety of exclusion zone visits April 6 at 12:40am

“Some residents have submitted requests to visit their homes to gather belongings as it will be a long time before they can return permanently.” (NHK) April 6 at 12:40am

More than 1,400 schools and nurseries will be tested over two days amid anxiety among parents over leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. -BBC news April 6 at 12:42am

  • Officials say there should be no risk to children if they keep outside a 30km (19mile) exclusion zone. … “A lot of parents are very concerned and at the local authority offices we’ve been flooded by queries, so we are collecting data that is o…bjective and easy to understand, in the hope that this will allay some of those concerns,” said Hiroyuki Aratake of the Fukushima Disaster Emergency Centre. -BBC news April 6 at 12:42am

From NISA’s Seismic Damage Report (73rd release) regarding exposure of individuals or the Possibility on radiation exposure ï¼?As of 15:00 April 4thï¼?April 6 at 12:47am
1. Exposure of residents:

  • (1) Including the about 60 evacuees from Futaba Public Welfare Hospital to Nihonmatsu City Fukushima Gender Equality Centre, as the result of measurement of 133 persons at the Centre, 23 persons counted more than 13…,000 cpm were decontaminated.
  • (2) The 35 residents transferred from Futaba Public Welfare Hospital to Kawamata Town Saiseikai Kawamata Hospital by private bus arranged by Fukushima Prefecture were judged to be not contaminated by the Prefectural Response Centre.
  • (3) As for the about 100 residents in Futaba Town evacuated by bus, the results of measurement for 9 of the 100 residents were as follows. The evacuees, moving outside the Prefecture (Miyagi Prefecture), were divided into two groups, which joined later to Nihonmatsu City Fukushima Gender Equality Centre.

No. of Counts No. of Persons:

  • 18,000 cpm – 1
  • 30,000-36,000 cpm – 1
  • 40,000 cpm – 1
  • little less than 40,000 cpm* – 1
  • very small counts 5
  • (4) The screening was started at the Off site Centre in Okuma Town from March 12th to 15th. 162 people received examination until now. At the beginning, the reference value was set at 6,000 cpm. 110 people were at the level below 6,000 cpm… and 41 people were at the level of 6,000 cpm or more. When the reference value was increased to 13,000 cpm afterward, 8 people were at the level below 13,000 cpm and 3 people are at the level of 13,000 cpm or more. The 5 out of 162 people examined were transported to hospital after being decontaminated.
  • (5) The Fukushima Prefecture carried out the evacuation of patients and personnel of the hospitals located within 10km area. The screening of all the members showed that 3 persons have the high counting rate. These members were transported to the secondary medical institute of exposure. As a result of the screening on 60 fire fighting personnel involved in the transportation activities, the radioactivity higher than twice of the back ground was detected on 3 members. Therefore, all the 60 members were decontaminated.
    (6) Fukushima Prefecture has started the screening from 13 March. It is carried out by rotating the evacuation sites and at the 13 places (set up permanently) such as health offices. Up until April 2nd, the screening was done to 122,613 people. Among them, 102 people were above the 100,000 cpm, but when measured these people again without clothes, etc., the counts decreased to 100,000 cpm and below, and there was no case which affects health.

2. Exposure of workers:

As for the workers conducting operations in Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS, the total number of people who were at the level of exposure more than 100 mSv becomes 21. For two out of the three workers who were confirmed to be …at the level of exposure more than 170 mSv on March 24, the attachment of radioactive material on the skin of both legs was confirmed. As the two workers were judged to have a possibility of beta ray burn, they were transferred to the Fukushima Medical University Hospital, and after that, on March 25th, all of the three workers arrived at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in the Chiba Prefecture. As the result of examination, the level of exposure of their legs was estimated to be from 2 to 3 Sv. The level of exposure of both legs and internal did not require medical treatment, but they decided to monitor the progress of all three workers in the hospital. All the three workers have been discharged from the hospital around the noon on 28 March. At around 11:35 April 1st, a worker fell into the sea when he went on board the barge of the US Armed forces in order to adjust the hose. He was rescued immediately by other workers around without any injury and external contamination. In order to make double sure, the existence of internal radionuclide contaminant is being confirmed by a whole-body counter.

3. Others

  • (1) 4 members of Self-Defence Force who worked in Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS were injured by explosion. One member was transferred to National Institute of Radiological Sciences. After the examination, judged that there were wounds bu…t no risk for health from the exposure, the one was released from the hospital on March 17th. No other exposure of the Self-Defence Force member was confirmed at the Ministry of Defence.
  • (2) As for policeman, the decontaminations of two policemen were confirmed by the National Police Agency. Nothing unusual was reported.
  • (3) On March 24th, examinations of thyroid gland for 66 children aged from 1 to 15 years old were carried out at the Kawamata Town public health Center. The result was at not at the level of having harmful influence.
  • (4) From March 26th to 27th, examinations of thyroid gland for 137 children aged from 1 to 15 years old were carried out at the Iwaki City Public Health Center. The result was not at the level of having harmful influence.
  • (5) From March 28th to 30th, examinations of thyroid gland for 946 children aged from 0 to 15 years old were carried out at the Kawamata Town Community Center and the Iidate Village Office. The result was not at the level of having harmful influence.

From NISA on the Situation of the injured (As of 15:00 April 4th) April 6 at 1:03am
1. Injury in Unit 1 of Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS due to earthquake on 11

  • – Two employees (slightly, have already gone back working)
  • – Two subcontract employees (one fracture in both legs, be in hospital)
  • – Two died (After the earthquake, tw…o TEPCO’s employees missed and had been searched continuously. In the afternoon of March 30th, the two employees were found on the basement floor of the turbine building of Unit 4 and were confirmed dead by April 2nd.)

2. Injury due to the explosion of Unit 1 of Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS on 12 March

  • – Four employees (two TEPCO’s employees and two subcontractor’s
  • employees) were injured at the explosion and smoke of Unit 1 around
  • the turbine building (non-controlled area of radiation) and were examined by Kawauchi Clinic. Two TEPCO’s employees return to work
  • again and two subcontractors’ employees are under home treatment.

3. Injury due to the explosion of Unit 3 of Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS on 14 March.

  • – Four TEPCO’s employees (They have already return to work.)
  • – Three subcontractor employees (They have already return to work.)
  • – Four members of Self-Defence Force (one of them was transported to National Institute of Radiological Sciences considering internal possible exposure. The examination resulted in no internal exposure. The member was discharged from the institute on March 17th.)

4. Other injuries
– On the earthquake on 11 March, one subcontractor’s employees (a crane operator) died in Fukushima Dai-ni NPS. (It seems that the tower crane broke and the operator room was crushed and the person was hit on the head.)

  • – Two subcontractor’s employees were injured during working at
  • temporary control panel of power source in the Common Spent Fuel Pool, transported to where were industrial medical doctors the Fukushima Dai-ni NPS on 22 and 23 March. (One employee has already returned to work and the other is under home treatment.)
  • – One emergency patient on 12 March. (Cerebral infarction, transported by the ambulance, be in hospital)
  • – Ambulance was requested for one employee complaining the pain at left chest outside of control area on March 12. (Conscious, under home treatment)
  • – Two employees complaining discomfort wearing full-face mask in the
  • main control room were transported to Fukushima Dai-ni NPS for a
  • consultation with an industrial doctor on 13 March. (One employee has
  • already returned to work and the other is under home treatment.)

From NISA on the Directive of screening levels for decontamination of radioactivity April 6 at 1:08am

  • 1) On March 20th, the Local Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters issued the directive to change the reference value for the screening level for decontamination of radioactivity as the following to the Prefectural Governor and the heads… of cities, towns and villages (Tomioka Town, Hutaba Town, Okuma Town, Namie Town, Kawauchi Village, Naraha Town, Minamisouma City, Tamura City, Kazurao Village, Hirono Town, Iwaki City and Iidate Village).
  • Old: 40 Bq/cm2 measured by a gamma-ray survey meter or 6,000 cpm
  • New: 1 μ Sv/hour (dose rate at 10cm distance) or 100,000cpm
  • equivalent

Japanese fishermen are demanding compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Company for the damage to fish stocks caused by the company’s release of radioactive waste water into the sea. (NHK) April 6 at 1:56am

  • The head of the national federation of fisheries cooperatives, Ikuhiro Hattori, made the demand in a meeting with TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata on Wednesday in Tokyo. … Hattori later told reporters he feels nothing but anger and would …like to see all nuclear power plants in the country immediately shut down. He said fishermen would no longer cooperate in any way with nuclear power plant operators. (NHK)

If you read through those dense NISA postings, you might have noticed no mention of exposures of workers at the plant. “Injury”, yes – exposure, no. (They must keep that info somewhere else.) But from NHK we do get this: April 6 at 2:19am

After finding 526Bq/kg of Cesium-137 in launce off Ibaraki Pref., all fishing there has been ended. (NHK) April 6 at 4:19am

  • These fish are the major catch this time of year – they are dried and eaten in soy sauce – but “there’s no use in catching fish that won’t be sold.” (NHK)
  • Contamination is moving south, and the speed of dispersion is very low. (NHK)
  • Demand is high for fish from West Japan – prices have doubled. (NHK)

Pregnant women and small children with guardians will be evacuated to Fukushima City by the prefectural govt. from Itate Village if they wish to leave. (NHK) April 6 at 4:27am

Industry parts, manufactured in Fuku.Pref., are being tested for contamination. Business owners are overwhelmed with concern from customers. (NHK)

Vietnam has reached a significant agreement with Japan to purchase and acquire nuclear power technology. (NHK)

  • As a one party government, Vietnam does not have to contend with protest or opposition. Nuclear power is seen by the govt as a necessary requirement for economic growth. The power plants to be constructed will incorporate “the most advanced safety measures”. (NHK)

“Statement on Measures Responding to The Tokyo Electric Power Fukushima Daiichi and Daini Nuclear Accident Caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake” LINK April 7 at 1:45am

  • “We are gravely concerned about this accident which can fundamentally undermine public trust in safety measures, not only in Japan but also in other countries.” -Japan Atomic Energy Commission

“…analysis from March to April found levels of radioactive cesium in soil 30 to 150 times higher than normal in rice paddies, farms and orchards…” Saturday at 2:13am

  • “The Japanese government says it will greatly increase the number of machines that test Japanese food products for radioactive contamination.”
  • “The government says the budget will finance the purchase of machinery to test for radioactive co…ntamination and assist local governments in facilitating the use of the testing machinery.” (NHK)
  • Foreign Minister Matsumoto will attend an emergency meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Indonesia on Sat. He will emphasize continued transparency with international community re: nuclear disaster, as well as the safety of agricultural products and will express thanks to all for aid. (NHK)

Edano: Fishermen whose marine products have been affected by the release of radioactive particles from the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant should receive provisional compensation. -kyodo news
Saturday at 2:16am

  • Russia and China have now joined S. Korea in expressing concern about the release of radioactive water and the lack of information. Russia says it learned of the operation 2 days after dumping had begun. (NHK)
  • Water radiation levels rise north of nuke plant – I-131 rose from 600X on Tues. to 1,000X on Wed. to 2,800X maximum allowance on Thurs. “The government’s nuclear safety agency has instructed the Fukushima plant operator to review its monitoring activities, as the radioactive material is likely to be carried northward by ocean currents. The agency stressed the need to monitor areas of high radiation concentration more closely to clarify possible contamination of the ocean.” (NHK)
  • Over 8,000 tons of “less-radioactive” water has been discharged to date – the final 800 tons are set to be released tomorrow. Meanwhile, the highly contaminated water in the trench off no.2 has risen 10cm since the leak from the pit was stopped on Wed. but is still 94cm from overtopping. The source is still unknown. (NHK)

Edano: Our current standards for evacuation are based on a scenario of short-term spikes of radiation, but there are now areas where radioactive substances have accumulated. (NHK) Saturday at 2:20am

  • The govt. is looking into how to deal with these areas and will also consider the advice of other experts. (NHK)
  • â??”A US government nuclear expert says the United States advised its citizens to stay 80 kilometers away from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last month because of limited information.”
  • http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/0…9_10.html
  • “A study of soil samples has revealed that as much as 400 times the normal levels of radiation could remain in communities beyond a 30-kilometer radius from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where explosions spewed radioactive materials into the atmosphere.” http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201104080169.html

24km from the plant, in Minamisoma City – many stores are closed, people are low on food and concerned, many have evacuated voluntarily already. (NHK) Saturday at 2:22am

  • Starting last week, a pick-up bus service has started taking people to an open but distant supermarket. Relief goods are being delivered to the elderly who can’t go out on their own – a woman, asked about why she has decided to stay says she has nowhere else to go. (NHK)

In the 7.4 aftershock, the Onagawa nuke plant in Miyagi Prefecture lost 2 of its 3 external power grids. There were also spills of radioactive water from the spent fuel areas of each reactor, and leaks found in 5 other places. (NHK) Saturday at 2:28am

  • Three of its reactors have been in cold shutdown since the Tohoku quake of March 11.
  • At the Higashidori nuke plant in Aomori, cooling function was lost for about an hour.
  • No new problems were observed at Daiichi and Daini. (NHK)
  • Analiese Miller A later report from kyodo news said 3 of 4 power supplies were lost at Onagawa, and added that a spent fuel disposal area in Rokkasho villiage (Aomori Pref.) lost external power for a time as well. LINK
  • â??”Utility firms are deploying power-generating vehicles as part of an additional backup effort, in case both the existing emergency systems and diesel-powered generators fail.
  • But pressure is rising on power companies to review their backup …plans to deal with such scenarios.” (NHK)See More
  • EPCO now reports that the surface temp. of the no.1 reactor rose from 223 C degrees to 260 just after the quake, but has fallen since to 240. The cause is unknown. (NHK)
  • A “device to control pressure inside a turbine building” was also damaged at the Onagawa plant. (JAIF)
  • Also at Onagawa, Tohoku Electric Power Company “added that blowout panels–devices designed to control pressure inside the buildings–were damaged at the turbine building of the Number 3 reactor.” (JAIF)
  • NISA spokesman Nishiyama said the requirement of one backup diesel generator at cold shutdown reactors is “not enough” – the agency is calling on plant operators to have at least two on hand at all times. (NHK)
  • â??”Nishiyama also displayed candor about the missteps and failures that precipitated the disaster, saying, ”We had said all along that (nuclear power) was absolutely secure thanks to its multiple layers of protection and five-layer barriers, and I believed this, but we brought this situation onto ourselves.”” -kyodo news
  • “Also Saturday, Tohoku Electric Power Co. said a human mistake apparently caused the only functioning diesel generator at the Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture to leak fuel, forcing the utility to stop it.” -kyodo news

“The unit’s commander says his team is working day and night along with the Self-Defense Forces to utilize their abilities to the fullest, and that their morale is high.” –US nuclear unit drill Saturday at 3:44am

  • 22,000 joint personnel, 50 ships and 90 aircraft are being used in an effort to find any of the 14,000 who remain missing – but efforts will not extend into the 30km evacuation zone. (NHK)

TEPCO will increase the purity of the nitrogen gas
injected into the no.1 reactor from 98% to 99.98%. (NHK) Saturday at 4:09am
“Nearly half of the nuclear fuel rods in the reactor are feared to be exposed — generating hydrogen that could explode if it reacts with oxygen.” (JAIF)
TEPCO says that “after injecting 413 cubic meters of nitrogen gas until 5 PM on Thursday, the pressure reading inside the vessel was 1.76, up 0.2 from before the injection started.” (JAIF)
U.S. Dropped Nuclear Rule Meant to Avert Hydrogen Explosions: “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has allowed reactors to phase out some equipment that eliminates explosive hydrogen, the gas that blew up the outer containments of three reacto…rs at the Fukushima Daiichi in Japan. The commission says it judged that at the American plants, the containments were strong enough that the equipment was not needed or other methods would do.” (NYT) LINK

“[TEPCO] plans to enclose a seawater intake for the No. 2 reactor at the plant with seven steel sheets and a 120-meter-wide ”silt curtain” near the intake and two other locations nearby.” –Workers begin installing enclosures to prevent sea contamination | Kyodo News

What “safe” can mean on a good day.: Day Laborers Brave Risks at Japan’s Nuclear Plants

The move comes as the Fukushima prefectural government has urged Tokyo to accept imposing such an area in light of some residents temporarily returning on their own to the evacuation zone to take out belongings despite radiation fears.” –Gov’t may make evacuation area near nuke plant off-limits to residents | Kyodo News Sunday at 4:13pm

  • Prime Minister Naoto Kan has told the governor of quake-hit Miyagi Prefecture that the central government will build 70,000 temporary houses as quickly as possible. (NHK)

The Japanese govt. is considering raising the assessment of the accident at Daiichi to “most severe”. -kyodo news 17 hours ago

  • I think this means it would become a 7 on the scale of 1-7, the same as Chernobyl.
  • It’s been a month since the earthquake, and even now TEPCO does not know when the situation will be under control. (NHK)
  • It’s estimated that radiation releases so far amount to 1/10 of the total from Chernobyl. LINK
  • “Kyodo said the government’s Nuclear Safety Commission had estimated that at one stage the amount of radioactive material released from the reactors in northern Japan had reached 10,000 terabequerels per hour for several hours, which would… classify the incident as a major accident according to the INES scale.
  • Kyodo did not say when the big increase in radiation had happened but quoted the commission as saying the release had since fallen to under one terabecquerel per hour.” (AlJazeera)
  • “Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission says that abnormalities in a reactor suppression pool were to blame for the release of large amounts of radioactive substances at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
  • It said much of the radiation was releas…ed during the 2 days after the suppression pool, connected to the No. 2 reactor, began showing problems at 6 AM on March 15.
  • The commission said that radiation is still escaping and the amount is rising marginally, but that the volume has dropped considerably since the crisis began.” -kyodo
  • TEPCO chief takes upping of nuke crisis severity ‘extremely seriously’ -kyodo

â??“The science ministry says the amount of radiation accumulated over about half a month in some areas of Fukushima Prefecture has exceeded the permissible level for a whole year.” (NHK) 17 hours ago

  • In Namie Town, 30km NW of the plant, 14,480microsieverts have accumulated over 17 days. In Iitate, 40km NW – 8,440. (NHK)
  • The average exposure from natural sources worldwide is 2.4mSv/year. (kyodo)

The evacuation zone has been expanded
by the govt to include Katsurao Village, Namie Town, Iitate Village and some parts of Kawamata Town and Minami Soma City. (NHK)
Edano says that residents will have a month to find new places to live. Others in the 20-30km zone (specifically Hirono and Nahara) should prepare for a possible emergency order, and should find ways to evacuate on their own. All schools in the area will remain closed. (NHK)

CRIIRAD to the people of France (and Europe in gen): watch what you eat.Radiation risks from Fukushima ‘no longer negligible’ | EurActiv 13 hours ago

Links inside to updates on more US contamination, and to the EPA’s new “open data system.”: Radiation Detected In Drinking Water In 13 More US Cities, Cesium-137 In Vermont Milk

  • In Lourdes 4.59pCi and in Clansayes, 56.7pCi by your conversion IF the comma in the Euro. measurements take the place of our decimal.

There were a couple of big aftershocks today in Japan – all workers are evacuated to safety at the moment at Daiichi. Power was lost for about an hour, earlier. And there was a fire reported at reactor no. 4 which is now reported to be extinguished. 10 hours ago

  • TEPCO reports no change in radiation levels around the plant. (kyodo)
  • “TEPCO said the fire at a box that contained batteries in a building near the reactor was discovered at about 6:38am and put out seven minutes later. It was not clear whether the fire was related to Tuesday morning’s earthquake. The cause was being investigated.” (AlJazeera)

Fukushima Prefecture has decided to measure radiation levels at 2,700 locations and disclose the data amid growing concern about radioactive contamination. (JAIF) 10 hours ago

  • Many residents have demanded information on the radiation levels in their communities … task force will measure radiation levels at 2,700 locations in 55 municipalities, except for those within a 20-kilometer radius of the power plant. The levels of radioactive iodine and cesium in soil will be analyzed in some areas. Seventy prefectural employees will carry out the work between Tuesday and Friday, and will disclose the results to residents. (JAIF)
  • One farmer in the area estimates losses of $60,000 – tons of veggies have been piled up to decompose in a field – some of the spinach was “top of the line,” he says, “it’s so depressing.” (NHK)

The “special sheets” talked about earlier and intended for use as a cover of the damaged reactors might be ready by September. (NHK) 9 hours ago

TEPCO suspects a “possible leakage” of gas in the no.1 containment vessel as pressure has not risen as expected during the nitrogen injection process. (NHK) 9 hours ago

News Release from NISA: “Wrong descriptions have been found in our materials uploaded. We apologize for and correct these as follows.” –Corrections of “Measuring points of reactor pressure of Unit 2”, “Values of reactor pressure of Unit 8 hours ago

  • The entire history of post-quake reactor pressure measurements have been revised upward for no. 1, downward for no. 3.

Asked at a news conf. about the future of energy production in Japan, PM Kan speaks specifically about solar technology, says “We should reconstruct the community in a way that is kind to nature.” (NHK) 7 hours ago

  • With regard to reconstruction, Kan expresses his desire to rebuild with a mind to preventing future disaster, with respect for nature, and with kindness and caring for the weak. (NHK)


Highly radioactive water leaking into sea stops: TEPCO

Tokyo Electric Power Co. succeeded in stopping highly radioactive water from leaking into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant early Wednesday, while saying it is considering injecting nitrogen to prevent a possible hydrogen explosion from occurring at the No. 1 reactor.

The highly toxic water, confirmed to have been flowing from around a seaside pit located near the No. 2 reactor water intake on Saturday, stopped at 5:38 a.m. after the plant operator injected some 6,000 liters of chemical agents, including what is called water glass.

Japanese Workers Braved Radiation for a Temp Job

KAZO, Japan — The ground started to buck at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and Masayuki Ishizawa could scarcely stay on his feet. Helmet in hand, he ran from a workers’ standby room outside the plant’s No. 3 reactor, near where he and a group of workers had been doing repair work. He saw a chimney and crane swaying like weeds. Everybody was shouting in a panic, he recalled.

URGENT: Radiation leakage may eventually exceed that of Chernobyl: TEPCO

The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said Tuesday that it is concerned that radiation leakage at the plant could eventually exceed that of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.

”The radiation leak has not stopped completely and our concern is that the amount of leakage could eventually reach that of Chernobyl or exceed it,” an official from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

Japan: Nuclear crisis raised to Chernobyl level

Japanese authorities have raised the severity rating of their nuclear crisis to the highest level, seven.

The decision reflects the total release of radiation at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which is ongoing, rather than a sudden deterioration.

Level seven previously only applied to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, where 10 times as much radiation was emitted.

Powerful quake strikes northeast Japan

TOKYO — A powerful earthquake struck near Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Tuesday, shaking buildings in Tokyo. No tsunami warning was issued and no damage immediately reported.

The US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 6.0 and hit less than 11 kilometres (7 miles) below ground, 70 kilometres south of Fukushima city in the prefecture of the same name.

Japanese officials had put the magnitude at 6.3.

International Atomic Energy Agency Summary for Today

The Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) today issued a new provisional rating for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the IAEA International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES).

The nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi is now rated as a level 7 “Major Accident” on INES. Level 7 is the most serious level on INES and is used to describe an event comprised of “A major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures”. Japanese authorities notified the IAEA in advance of the public announcement and the formal submission of the new provisional rating.

The new provisional rating considers the accidents that occurred at Units 1, 2 and 3 as a single event on INES. Previously, separate INES Level 5 ratings had been applied for Units 1, 2 and 3. The provisional INES Level 3 rating assigned for Unit 4 still applies.

The re-evaluation of the Fukushima Daiichi provisional INES rating resulted from an estimate of the total amount of radioactivity released to the environment from the nuclear plant. NISA estimates that the amount of radioactive material released to the atmosphere is approximately 10% of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, which is the only other nuclear accident to have been rated a Level 7 event.

Earlier ratings of the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi were assessed as follows:

On 18 March, Japanese authorities rated the core damage at the Fukushima Daiichi 1, 2 and 3 reactor Units caused by loss of all cooling function to have been at Level 5 on the INES scale. They further assessed that the loss of cooling and water supplying functions in the spent fuel pool of the Unit 4 reactor to have been rated at Level 3.

Japanese authorities may revise the INES rating at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as further information becomes available.