Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

If Scotland Says 'Aye': Polls Say Independence Referendum Too Close to Call (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Scottish referendum in the media

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Homosexuality in Africa: Kenyan movie debuts at Toronto Film Festival

Read more

DEBATE

If Scotland Says 'Aye': Polls Say Indpendence Referendum Too Close to Call

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: US to send 3,000 troops to West Africa

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Inger Andersen, Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, The World Bank

Read more

FOCUS

Scottish referendum: Should I stay or should I go?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Paris conference: A coalition against the Islamic State group

Read more

ENCORE!

Encore's Film Show: Spies, doppelgangers and gay rights activists

Read more

Asia-pacific

Japan to upgrade Fukushima nuclear warning level

© AFP

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-08-21

Japan's nuclear watchdog is looking to upgrade the warning level over a toxic leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant, it was announced Wednesday. The action will be the most serious step taken since the plant the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Japan will dramatically raise its warning about the severity of a toxic water leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant, its nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday, its most serious action since the plant was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

The deepening crisis at the Fukushima plant will be upgraded from a level 1 “anomaly” to a level three “serious incident” on an international scale for radiological releases, a spokesman for Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said.

That will mark the first time Japan has issued a warning on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) since three reactor meltdowns after the massive quake in March 2011.

Water still leaking from the plant is so contaminated that a person standing close to it for an hour would receive five times the annual recommended limit for nuclear workers in a year.

A maximum level 7 was declared at the battered plant after explosions led to a loss of power and cooling two years ago, confirming Fukushima as the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier.

Contaminated water with dangerously high levels of radiation is leaking from a storage tank at Fukushima, the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Tuesday. The leak was classified as an “anomaly” earlier this week.

The NRA’s impending assessment upgrade came in a document posted on the agency’s website on Wednesday, with formal adoption to follow a meeting that is being held by the authority’s commissioners, the NRA spokesman said by telephone.

“Judging from the amount and the density of the radiation in the contaminated water that leaked ... a level 3 assessment is appropriate,” the document said.

The leak, which has not been plugged, is so contaminated that a person standing 50 cm (1.6 feet) away would, within an hour, receive a radiation dose five times the average annual global limit for nuclear workers.

After 10 hours, a worker in that proximity to the leak would develop radiation sickness with symptoms including nausea and a drop in white blood cells.

Each one-step INES increase represents a tenfold increase in severity, according to a factsheet on the website of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-08-21

  • JAPAN – NUCLEAR

    Japan govt steps in to plug Fukushima radioactive leak

    Read more

  • FRANCE 24 EXCLUSIVE

    Exclusive: Inside Japan's Fukushima, two years on

    Read more

  • JAPAN

    Japan ignored nuclear safety risks, new report says

    Read more

COMMENT(S)