International Alarms Go Up
As Fukushima Alert Level Raised
with reporting by Jon Queally
In the most serious action since the nuclear plant was first damaged in 2011, Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority is on the verge of raising the international alarm—and the official threat level—over the spiraling crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Having consistently underplayed the disaster level, by elevating the severity status from level 1 to level 3 on the eight-level International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES), the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has made a clear indication that the situation is worsening more than two years after the initial disaster and following recent reports of newly discovered leaks of highly radioactive water from several sources.
Shunichi Tanaka, head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), told reporters that the plant has "become an amusement park’s house of horror", with newly discovered leaks and and repeated failings by the plant’s owner TEPCO, the Japanese electricity company, to make meaningful progress in the cleanup.
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Radioactive groundwater at Fukushima nears Pacific
By Mari Yamaguchi
TOKYO » Deep beneath Fukushima's crippled nuclear power station, a massive underground reservoir of contaminated water that began spilling from the plant's reactors after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has been creeping slowly toward the Pacific.
Now, 2 1/2 years later, experts fear it is about to reach the ocean and greatly worsen what is fast becoming a new crisis at Fukushima: the inability to contain vast quantities of radioactive water.