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Japan nuclear crisis at its worst since 2011

Posting in Energy

More than two years after an earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, Japan's nuclear crisis is escalating once again.

Kyodo reports that 300 tons of radioactive water have leaked from a 1,000 ton tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. That led Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority to consider raising the incident from a Level 1 nuclear event to a Level 3 (a "serious incident" with radioactive exposure 10 times the limit for workers) on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the first time an incident has been serious enough to be reported on the INES scale. The most extreme nuclear events on the scale are considered Level 7, a level only reached by Fukushima in 2011 and Chernobyl.

The water by system used to cool the overheated nuclear reactors, but that water becomes contaminated and has been stored on-site.

The latest incident is the worst (at least, so far) of a long list of mishaps this month in the cooling system, from rats chewing through exposed wires causing a blackout of the cooling system to Tepco, the company in charge of the cleanup, failing to stop leaks of contaminated water from flowing into the Pacific Ocean. Earlier this month Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the government to assist Tepco with the cleanup, not that it seems to be helping yet.

On a related note, here's a recently released video from the 2011 tsunami that caused the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima. Like a slow-motion horror movie, but a true story:

Terrifying stuff all around.

Photo: Flickr/IAEA Imagebank

— By on August 21, 2013, 3:27 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure