Japan nuclear crisis now Level 7 (maximum rating)

Agence France-Presse reported that Japan on Tuesday upgraded its nuclear emergency crisis from Level 5 to 7, the maximum level based on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). The AFP said this is the first time the ranking has been invoked since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Level 7, or ‘Major Accident,’ based on the INES means there was a “major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures.”

The incident at the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was brought about by the magnitude-8.9 earthquake and gigantic tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.

Fukushima nuclear disaster rating now at par with the Chernobyl crisis; sources say the government of Japan, however, reported that it is only at ten percent.

The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in April 1986 in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (now Ukraine) where an explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive contamination into the atmosphere that spread across western Russia and Europe.

It was classified as Level 7 and considered as the worst nuclear power plant accident in history.

Meanwhile, Japanese officials said that workers are at the Fukushima nuclear plant round-the-clock trying to control the situation.