Japan raised the severity rating of its nuclear crisis to the highest, matching the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, as increasing radiation prompts the government to widen the evacuation zone and aftershocks rocked the country.
Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency raised the rating to 7, a spokesman said at a news conference in Tokyo today. The accident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi station was previously rated 5 on the global scale, the same as the 1979 partial reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.
The stricken nuclear plant, located about 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of Tokyo, is leaking radiation in Japan’s worst civilian nuclear disaster after a magnitude-9 quake and tsunami on March 11. Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s plant has withstood hundreds of aftershocks, and the government widened the surrounding evacuation zone yesterday.
The government “is at
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