Econintersect: The crisis level for the damaged nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant has been raised to level 7. This is the highest level defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency and is the same classification given to the disastrous Russion nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986. The nuclear power plant was severely damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan.The government Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said that the radiation emissions are only about 10% of those produced at Chernobyl, but there is concern that the total cumulative radiation leakage could exceed the Russian disaster.
The damage at Fukushima was initially assessed as level 4 but was raised to level 5 after a few days, where it has remained for almost a month. Level 5 was the assessment of the worst U.S. incident at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, PA in 1979.
The efforts to secure the facility have been hampered by repeated aftershocks. The most recent was less than 24 hours ago and measured 6.6 on the Richter scale. Last week a 7.1 magnitude shock created additional problems.