Fukushima now rated a "7" -- the same as Chernobyl

One wonders, how long they

One wonders, how long they can keep this up, Tepco, staving off the inevitable of some sort. Once they look at the reality of what they are trying to achieve, it seems harder and harder to obtain.


"A new analysis prepared for

"A new analysis prepared for Greenpeace Germany by nuclear safety expert Dr Helmut Hirsch shows that by March 23 2011, Japan’s nuclear crisis has already released enough radioactivity to be ranked at Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). This is the scale’s highest level, and equal to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. "


Unfortunately, Greenpeace

Unfortunately, Greenpeace has about as much credibility as Tepco does on the other side of the spectrum.

The "report," if you read it, is a series of assumptions and estimations based on prior data that has already been proven to be false.

A lot has been based on the ZAMG or French Nuclear safety organization's early estimations that had to be revised down after measurements of actual particulate levels in the air. Sadly, the original estimates are still being circulated and worse are being used as the basis for this type of propaganda.

If you'd like to judge for yourself, look at the "current" weather prediction and not those from mid-March.

A couple YouTube videos

A couple YouTube videos about the level 7 (Russia Today news)


This one has updated video of the plant:

According to the most recent IAEA update... (4/12, Japan Time)

Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log

Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update (12 April 2011, 04:45 UTC)

The Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) today issued a new provisional rating for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the IAEA International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES).

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". Japanese authorities notified the IAEA in advance of the public announcement and the formal submission of the new provisional rating.

The new provisional rating considers the accidents that occurred at Units 1, 2 and 3 as a single event on INES. Previously, separate INES Level 5 ratings had been applied for Units 1, 2 and 3. The provisional INES Level 3 rating assigned for Unit 4 still applies.

The re-evaluation of the Fukushima Daiichi provisional INES rating resulted from an estimate of the total amount of radioactivity released to the environment from the nuclear plant. NISA estimates that the amount of radioactive material released to the atmosphere is approximately 10% of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, which is the only other nuclear accident to have been rated a Level 7 event.

Earlier ratings of the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi were assessed as follows:

On 18 March, Japanese authorities rated the core damage at the Fukushima Daiichi 1, 2 and 3 reactor Units caused by loss of all cooling function to have been at Level 5 on the INES scale. They further assessed that the loss of cooling and water supplying functions in the spent fuel pool of the Unit 4 reactor to have been rated at Level 3.

Japanese authorities may revise the INES rating at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as further information becomes available.

INES is used to promptly and consistently communicate to the public the safety significance of events associated with sources of radiation. The scale runs from 0 (deviation) to 7 (major accident).

Further details regarding this development can be found in the NISA Press Release [pdf, http://www.nisa.meti.go.jp/english/files/en20110412-4.pdf].

Rick Cromack.
Allen, Texas

Just thought I'd mention this: (from "TIME Magazine")


(Now, this IS "TIME", the very definition of "mainstream media". AND they're quoting NISA, which may be a little like asking the fox to state numbers of chickens missing from the henhouse. However... Maybe this will interest some of you...)

"...Japan's nuclear safety body determined that at one point after the March 11 earthquake, the plant was releasing 10,000 terabecquerels of iodine-131 for several hours; level 7 accidents are defined as releasing tens of thousands of terabecquerels. 'We have upgraded the severity level to 7 as the impact of radiation leaks has been widespread from the air, vegetables, tap water and the ocean,' Minoru Oogoda of Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) told AP.

"The amount of radioactive material being released at Fukushima today, however, is less than 1 terabecquerel, and NISA says that to date Fukushima has only released about 10% of total radiation released in Chernobyl — 1.8 million terabecquerels — 25 years ago. About 30 people, mostly workers, died in the immediate aftermath of Chernobyl, though the UN has estimated that the long-term death toll due to exposure could eventually be as high as 4000."

So -- consider the source, please, but consider.

Rick Cromack.
Allen, Texas

But at a separate news

But at a separate news conference, an official from Tokyo Electric said, “The radiation leak has not stopped completely and our concern is that it could eventually exceed Chernobyl.”(ny times )

heres why there concerned ty arnie gunderson

The thing is, even if you

The thing is, even if you knew exactly how much was coming out at Fukushima, you need to model the wind and weather to know where and how much will fall out. Since the wind has been blowing mostly out to sea, the fallout has been ending up in the ocean in quantity. The effect of the ocean and the airmass above it on dispersion is variable and that impacts what concentrations we see in the US.

Obviously we want them to stop emissions ASAP. But if the numbers from Time are
accurate, then this has a long way to go before it would pass Chernobyl.

Exact wind and precipitation

Exact wind and precipitation patterns HAVE been taken into account by the Austrian government (google ZAMG) and source terms of 50-100% of Chernobyl inferred for Fukushima. Their calculations are much more reliable than those underlying this article, and yield about 3-5 times higher radionuclide release.

there are many reasons why

there are many reasons why this will eclipse chernobyl, not the least of which is you have two reactors that are out of control and the problems with spent fuel rod pools. just the amount of measurable radiation on the ground near fukushima outside the exclusion zone, which is now at 30 km or approximately ~21 miles, makes this much worse than chernobyl.

According to the IAEA the

According to the IAEA the paths of the radiation where there are high readings are very narrow and in straight paths away from Fukushima. Chernobyl saturated a large area with contamination where thus accident is turning out to be very "peaky."

Unless there is an earthquake that ruptures containment in a way that is significantly worse that what has already occurred, the accident will probably end up being around 25% of Cernobyls total, with some local (very) hotspots around Fukushima.

The reactors, while in critical condition, are static - as defined by the IAEA. If kept in the same state, they will cool in a few months time and releases of all sorts will curtail. At that point they can cover the reactors to prevent more leaking and start work to better contain the cores until such a time as the plant can be cleaned up.

This accident is bad, but still a long way from Chernobyl.

pick a bale of cotton, pick a bale of hay

wrong. the caesium-137 released in the first four days was 50% of the release from chernobyl. and don't be foolish, exclusion zones are not straight lines. we are getting high radiation readings right here on the west coast, in fact the radioiodine found in rainwater was many magnitudes larger that what was found in rainwater in korea.

spread of radioactivity estimates from fukukshima

pick a bale of cotton, pick a bale of hay



Despite media spin downplaying severity of crisis, Fukushima is likely to be a worse catastrophe than 1986 disaster

The radiation released by the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant already rivals and in one sense exceeds the Chernobyl catastrophe according to Austria’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, even as media spin downplays the severity of the crisis despite the fact that the problems at the plant show no signs of abating.

“The release of two types of radioactive particles in the first 3-4 days of Japan’s nuclear crisis is estimated to have reached 20-50 percent of the amounts from Chernobyl in 10 days, an Austrian expert said on Wednesday,” reports Reuters.

Iodine-131 released in the first 3-4 days of the crisis was about 20 percent of that released from Chernobyl during a ten-day period, whereas the amount of Caesium-137 released amounted to about 50 percent, according to the institute’s Dr Gerhard Wotawa.

Despite the fact that the story appears under the euphemistic Reuters headline, Japan radiation release lower than Chernobyl, as Tyler Durden points out, when you consider the fact that the amount of Caesium-137 released at Fukushima in the first 3-4 days of the crisis amounted to 50% that released by Chernobyl over 10 days, the real run rate of the radiation released at Fukushima is now about 120-150% the figure released by the Chernobyl explosion – and that’s not even factoring in ongoing radiation leaks from Fukushima, which many experts have estimated could go on for much longer.

As the New York Times reported, “Experts….suggest that radioactive releases of steam from the crippled plants could go on for weeks or even months.” Even if Fukushima technicians manage to stop radiation leakage after one month, estimated Caesium-137 emissions would be at least 500 percent more than those released by Chernobyl, whereas iodine-131 levels could be 200 percent worse.

A further complication is the fact that we don’t even know how much if any plutonium emissions have leaked from Fukushima reactor number 3, which runs on MOX or Mixed Oxide fuel, a mixture of plutonium and uranium. Plutonium is the most deadly radioactive isotope known to man, and MOX is two million times more deadly than normal enriched uranium. The Half-life of Plutonium-239 in MOX is 24,000 years and just a few milligrams of P-239 escaping in a smoke plume will contaminate soil for tens of thousands of years.

In the case of Chernobyl, the vast majority of the plutonium was not released during the explosion and subsequent fire. Japanese authorities and the establishment media seem reticent to even discuss the potential release of plutonium from reactor number 3 at Fukushima.

“The fact that radiation releases are approaching the level they did in Chernobyl is a cause for concern, a sign of the severity of the accident that’s already taken place,” said Edwin Lyman, senior scientist at the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program, especially given the way Chernobyl exploded.”

The only two factors that have really prevented the Fukushima crisis from becoming as severe as Chernobyl thus far are firstly that, unlike in the case of Chernobyl, residents within the exclusion zone were quickly evacuated, and secondly, most of the radiation from Fukushima has been dispersed over the Pacific Ocean, whereas Chernobyl fallout blanketed the land mass of Europe.

However, at least with Chernobyl the full impact of the disaster was known and its threat was able to be quantified quickly. Fukushima has been burning for 2 weeks and shows no sign of abating. Given the fact that one type of radiation reached 20% and the other over 50% of Chernobyl within days, Fukushima is on course to be worse than the 1986 disaster in the long term.

As Tyler Durden asks, “How soon until the first indications of radiation poisoning start appearing. Somehow we are confident we will not find out until years from now when all the truth surrounding this incident is finally declassified.”

Indeed, despite UN and World Health Organization studies that claim Chernobyl led to a maximum of 9,000 deaths and 200,000 cases of radiation sickness, more contemporary studies have shown that nearly a million people have been killed from cancers caused by the disaster over the course of the last 25 years.

If radiation releases from Fukushima are being underreported by authorities, as they were with Chernobyl, and a heap of evidence suggests they are, then we won’t know the full impact of the disaster until decades have passed.

Despite the massive threat Fukushima poses to the food supply, as the U.S. and other countries ban dairy and vegetable imports from farms contaminated by the radiation release, U.S. health authorities and the EPA are still insisting that Americans should not take potassium iodide, even at weaker levels, despite the fact that it is known to protect against thyroid cancer by blocking the absorption of radioactive iodine.

That's a very emotional

That's a very emotional piece and bases its premise on the same (potentially inacurate) document you linked to earlier.

Just because the MSM decides to whip up bad (possobly inaccurate) data doesn't automatically make it worse.

I'm not going to continue this further, I've already said what I wanted to, you can judge for yourselves.


pick a bale of cotton, pick a bale of hay

you are so far removed from reality, it ain't funny. the reactor at chernobyl had a much smaller core and it didn't have MOX fuel. it was contained after two weeks. do the math.

who let the dog out, who who

By the way, that document

By the way, that document you are citing is from March 22nd. Multiple updates have occurred since then and the original source term of 10^17 was downgraded by a factor of 10.


The Daiichi complex in

The Daiichi complex in Fukushima, Japan … had a total of 1760 metric tons of fresh and used nuclear fuel on site last year, according to a presentation by its owners, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). The most damaged Daiichi reactor, number 3, contains about 90 tons of fuel, and the storage pool above reactor 4, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) Gregory Jaczko reported yesterday had lost its cooling water, contains 135 tons of spent fuel. The amount of fuel lost in the core melt at Three Mile Island in 1979 was about 30 tons; the Chernobyl reactors had about 180 tons when the accident occurred in 1986.

And see this.

That means that Fukushima has nearly 10 times more nuclear fuel than Chernobyl.

It also means that a single spent fuel pool – at reactor 4, which has lost all of its water and thus faces a release of its radioactive material - has 75% as much nuclear fuel as at all of Chernobyl.

However, the real numbers are even worse.

Specifically, Tepco very recently transferred many more radioactive spent fuel rods into the storage pools. According to Associated Press, there were – at the time of the earthquake and tsunami – 3,400 tons of fuel in seven spent fuel pools plus 877 tons of active fuel in the cores of the reactors.

That totals 4,277 tons of nuclear fuel at Fukushima.

Which means that there is almost 24 times more nuclear fuel at Fukushima than Chernobyl

Potential for release

Potential for release doesn't equal what is released. Chernobyl only released 5% of it's core. Your concern is noted, but you are doing a disservice to people by hyping fear.


it's a fair bet that there

it's a fair bet that there must be some truth to my statements, or you wouldent be hyping and hiding behind such shallow and pathetic, ignorant "tweedledee and tweedledum" responses. like you said the science speaks for itself, it is widely known that there are tons of fuel in the reactors at the fukushima dai-ichi site.

who let the dog out, who who

You are entitled to your

You are entitled to your opinion and I am to mine. History will be the judge. The data to date doesn't paint a picture as bad as you'd have us believe. And I'll put my trust in the data.


I disagree there is simply

I disagree there is simply not enough good, verified data to paint the rosy picture that you would put your faith in. I am with Kazoo, this is much more serious than the media would have us believe.

You are certainly entitled

You are certainly entitled to believe that.


The weather models are still

The weather models are still just models and need sampling to verify if they are valid. UCB should very much be doing ground measurements (not just soil) to ascertain if the models are accurate.

[Nodding] That's the way I'm reading it, too.

...Let's hope people know what they're talking about, right? But this information dovetails with what I've been hearing from experts lately.

The alternative, I suppose, is to believe NOBODY, and go on gut instinct or chicken entrails or bird bones. Or, simply follow my own uninformed, hysterical paranoia right down the rabbit hole. Not a fan of that right now, though. Been there too much, lately, honestly.

Rick Cromack.
Allen, Texas

They may consider the event

They may consider the event level 7 because of how far the effects have reached, but the 10,000 TBq per hour value, if for 24 hours straight would be less than 2% of Chernobyl output.

The severity of the INES scale doesn't actually seem to be tied to how much radiation is released, only how much ends up outside the evac area.

The agency said its

The agency said its calculations show that 370-thousand terabecquerels of radioactive iodine 131 and cesium 137 have been released from the plant.

The nuclear safety commission, in a joint press conference with the agency, put the estimated leak at 630-thousand terabecquerels of both substances.

mabye u missed this recalculate

The commission says the release has since come down to under 1 terabecquerel per hour and said that it is still examining the total amount of radioactive materials .... one month 24 hours in a day

Sure, let's do the math. If

Sure, let's do the math. If you have 10,000 TBq per hour for 24 hours and that equals 2% of Chernobyl, then 120,000 TBq is equal to 1% of Chernobyl.

If they are saying that it is now 1TBq per hour, over 24 hours over 30 days would be 720 TBq or 0.006% of Chernobyl.

They reported that at times it was above the 10,000 TBq / hr mark, but that this was the high water mark and was not consistant. So let's take a conservative estimate that 10,000 TBq / hr was for the first two weeks, 14 days. That would put the absolute maximum upper bound at around 30% of Chernobyl's output. And since most of that fell out over the Pacific ocean, or remained onsite or localized to the water around Fukushima or the evac zone + some amount, the actual output outside of Japan would probably be around 1/10 of what is localized. So for everyone else but Japan, we would see about 3% of what Chernobyl put out.


1 TBq ~ 27 curies 270,000

1 TBq ~ 27 curies
270,000 curies/hr

just 8 hours would be 2,160,000 curies

most reports say Chernobyl was total release of 50 million curies.

Cesium-137 levels of 3.26 million becquerels per square meter 40 kilometers northwest of the Fukushima plant

compare to most reports of Chernobyl 550,000 becquerels per square meter

This article would seem to

This article would seem to indicate 378M Curies as total output for Chernobyl:


Continuing on... It looks

Continuing on...

It looks like 378M Curies is 14M TBq. That would be a factor of 10x for the calculation above.

But, I was being very generous with the conservative estimate for the duration of the maximum measured output.

Let's cut it in half and we see that potentially we could have had a maximum of 1.5x Chernobyl output (still pretty generous). However, even if the world received 30% of the Chernobyl maximum fallout, the Pacific ocean has been diluting the radiation by factors of 10,000 to 1,000,000 times. So even with a large source term we still see very large dilution. This jibes pretty well with BRAWM's measurements.

Scratch the last statement.

Scratch the last statement. The maths for the first calculation are accurate based on 12-14M TBq output from Chernobyl.

So... WHICH Calculation Is Accurate, Now?

...Please clarify. What is the comparison, do we think, at this stage of the event?


Rick Cromack.
Allen, Texas

I was just saying that the

I was just saying that the second calculation was done with my head full of Tequila.

I feel this first one (30% max; 3% worldwide) is accurate (and very conservative - probably less) because I found the Chernobyl data for a 14M TBq source term. 1% of 14M is 140,000 which is in line with the first calculation.

Sorry about that. Feel free to disagree as some will very likely do.


Believe me...

....I don't WANT to disagree with you, there, HTH. 30% of Chernobyl -- heck, 100% of Chernobyl, cumulatively -- sounds like "win" to me at this point. I'll take it. (Like I have any choice in the matter, right?)

Btw -- I'm just curious, here, not trying to imply any lack of confidence in your posts, or anything -- If I can ask, what do you do for a living? (You may have already answered this question, and, anyway, if you don't feel like Replying, that's perfectly fine.)

Many thanks,

Rick Cromack.
Allen, Texas

No problem Rick. I'm in IT

No problem Rick.

I'm in IT and do some work with business logic and statistics.

I'm not a Nuke scientist, so don't take my posts as gospel, but I do have a grasp of the technicals here and can appreciate the data and what is being told and how much is not.


pick a bale of cotton, pick a bale of hay

go ahead. paint your rosy picture with 4 failed reactor cores, and partially or completely destroyed overheated fuel rod pools. the exclusion zone keeps getting bigger, day by day. the radiation has been measured at above maximum chernobyl levels over twenty miles from the failed reactors at fukushima dai-ichi. do the math, this is going to be a total disaster for everyone. especially us on the west coast, the midwest and the pacific northwest.

who let the dog out, who who

Well, for what it's worth...

...You're a heckuva lot more technically- / scientifically-minded than I'll EVER be. You're talking to a guy who failed HS chemistry -- twice -- and made a C- in that subject in college. Also who made a C in COMMUNITY college physics, and who stayed on the line today for over an hour with DirecTV trying to figure out how to hook up an Ethernet cable. As has been pointed out, including by yours truly, multiple times on this Forum, there are probably very few, if any, folks here who are LESS "science type"-ish than I.

Basically, if and when the apocalypse DOES come, I'm useless, and will probably be eaten fairly early on.

(My in-laws would say I'm useless ANYWAY, but, that's another story.) LOL.

Rick Cromack.
Allen, Texas

No worries Rick. I think

No worries Rick. I think we'll all make it through this intact.

Take care.


From your lips, to God's ears. Thanks. [nt]

Rick Cromack.
Allen, Texas
972-746-8575 (This is the last post I'm going to include my phone number on. If anyone wants it, go ahead and E-mail me, I'll give it to ya.)

there you go. the radiation

there you go. the radiation release at the fukushima dai-ichi plant was already way beyond chernobyl a few days after the failure of the reactors.

I remember reading 120M TBq.

I remember reading 120M TBq. I'll have a look at my sources.

u r mistaken according to this article sigh..

That article makes no

That article makes no mention of the total output compared to Chernobyl, and only suggests a vague connection of readings to INES level. To be honest, it's kind of an arbitrary scale and there are no clear cut devisions. The fact that they found levels four times Chernobyl in a few samples has more to do with wind paterns and rain washing fallout from the air than it does with total output.

read and recalculate o geez

[A] study was conducted by a team of experts from Kyoto University and Hiroshima University ... found cesium-137 at levels between about 590,000 and 2.19 million becquerels per cubic meter [outside the 30 kilometer evacuation zone].

After the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union in 1986, residents who lived in areas where cesium-137 levels exceeded 555,000 becquerels were forced to move elsewhere.

Yes, you're right, and I

Yes, you're right, and I said in my post that the majority of the radiation is either localized to Japan or the waters around Fukushima, and a significant amount fell out over the Pacific. What you posted is important to why they raised the level, which I said in the parent post is because of how much has been found outside of the evacuation zone.

You can think of it this way:

Draw concentric circles around a nuclear plant, starting from 1 meter up to 100 KM divide this up into seven zones and have a threshold limit for each zone. The INES number goes up when each zone exceeds the threshold value set. At some point all areas outside of the last zone will see some fallout, and the threshold for that zone might be very low (as it would be hoped that a release wouldn't be widespread). Once the fallout crosses the last zone in any meaningful way, that's when the severity is raised to level 7.


honestly no one knows levels

honestly no one knows levels of release we can only estimate with poor data being released... if tepco continues to manage this we all get the fallout, they have been playing wackamole with wiley coyote like ignorance. i understand they are doing the best they can do and japan is a independent country but they need a whole lot of help everyone can see this right?

Level Seven



Here's a thought...

...Anyone wonder if there's a "Level Eight" in our near future? (Or, Nine? Or, Ten?)

Rick Cromack.
Allen, Texas