The science of nuclear energy
The science of nuclear energy

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The science of nuclear energy

3.2.6 Fukushima level 7

One month after the tsunami the Fukushima nuclear crisis was upgraded from a level 5 nuclear incident – an accident with wider consequences – to a level 7 incident – a major accident.

This is the maximum level and puts it in the same category as Chernobyl. At the time, many found the classification to be misleading as the severity of the disaster was determined by measuring the total amount of radiation emitted over the month. Ten times the amount of radiation had been emitted at Chernobyl over a much shorter time span.

In addition, the authorities in Japan evacuated the area far more quickly and, to date, no one has suffered ill effects from the radiation from Fukushima.

The next section looks at the levels of radiation in the population six months after the meltdown.


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