Japan on Tuesday raised the severity level of the accident at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to the maximum 7 on an international scale, up from the current 5 and matching that of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.
The previous evaluation of 5 on the International Nuclear Event Scale provisionally set by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, a body under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, was at the same level as the Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979.
As I said yesterday.Within a 20-km exclusion zone set by the government, the amount varied from under 1 millisievert to 100 millisieverts or more, and in the 20-30 km ring where residents are asked to stay indoors, it came to under 50 millisieverts.
That question has just become much more urgent.The question is not the short term evacuations but rather what the long term exclusion zones will be. Example the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone is about 19 miles in the Ukraine. While there are a few people who still live there the government removed over 120,000 people, living in 90 communities in the zone.
How big and how many people will the permanent zone of exclusion in Japan will be is the question that no one has an answer for yet.