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In a move that should surprise no one, Japanese authorities have reclassified the Fukushima nuclear disaster as a category 7, the worst on the IAEA scale:
The nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi is now rated as a level 7 “Major Accident” on INES. Level 7 is the most serious level on INES and is used to describe an event comprised of “A major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures”. …
NISA estimates that the amount of radioactive material released to the atmosphere is approximately 10 percent of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, which is the only other nuclear accident to have been rated a Level 7 event.
In conjunction with the reclassified rating, the Japanese government is also moving to expand the current 12-mile radius evacuation zone, a move which could potentially effect hundreds of thousands of local residents. It is interesting to note that the U.S. government has advised its citizens to stay outside of a 50-mile radius – an indication, once again, that the Japanese authorities are downplaying the severity of the incident.
It is highly troubling that more than one month in, we still do not know the full extent of the damage, or even the current state of the reactors. At the very least, it is evident that whatever is going on at the plants is now beyond anyone’s control, and there appears to be very little we can do to stop it. The question is: Just how bad is this going to get?
At this stage, we should be bracing ourselves for the worst. Radioactive fallout has already been found across Europe and the United States, and any comparisons to “normal” radiation levels are completely bogus. The fact that Japanese authorities are now suggesting the amount of radioactive material released so far is equivalent to 10% of the Chernobyl disaster is, based on what we’ve seen so far, ample evidence that the Fukushima disaster has likely already exceeded that of Chernobyl. These facts will undoubtedly come out much later, after the worst damage has been done, and people around the globe have suffered – unnecessarily – as a result.
There has been a concerted effort by both the Japanese government and the international MSM to downplay the adverse effects of this catastrophe. The previous categorization of the disaster as a Level 5 – on par with the incident at Three Mile Island – provided a clear indication of a lack of honesty on the part of the Japanese authorities, as it was clear from day one that this incident dwarfed anything we’ve seen in the U.S. The constant references to “normal” radiation levels are also a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the danger of this disaster, as there are no “normal” levels for man-made radioactive materials such as the cesium and plutonium used in these reactors. Any exposure to these elements should be considered dangerous, and the MSM is doing us a great disservice by suggesting otherwise.
It is also interesting to notice the MSM’s adoption of technical jargon in discussing the amount of radioactive material released thus far. The NY Times quotes an official as saying that at one point the Fukushima plant was releasing “tens of thousands of terabecquerels” of radiation per hour — but what exactly is a “terabecquerel,” and what are the implications for human health? The media makes no attempt to provide any context or analysis, but merely throws out a term that ordinary people will inevitably fail to understand.
Perhaps most disturbing, though, is the lack of reliable information on the current state of the reactors. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, of all sources, has a reasonably good summary of the six reactors, but it’s dated April 8 and provides very little insight into current concerns, or potential future courses of action. Why is so little information available? Is it because no one really knows? Or is it because the disaster is on an unprecedented scale, and now completely beyond the ability of humans to control?
Answers to these questions will not be easy to obtain, but they are questions which have ramifications for everyone on earth.