The Japanese nuclear regulatory agency has raised the level of the Fukushima disaster to level 7, the same as the classification of the Chernobyl accident. The previous level was 5, and since the scale is logarithmic, this means that the Japanese think the accident is one hundred times worse than their previous assessment. (Of course, Fukushima didn’t get 100X worse overnight — this late reassessment is simply another example of the reluctance of either the Japanese or the nuclear regulatory-industrial complex, or both, to accept the obvious.)
Speaking of accepting the obvious, the Japanese government has finally decided to evacuate some towns outside even the 30 kilometer “shelter in place” radius. This evacuation order is selective, using radiation sampling data to evacuate areas that received more fallout from the plant.
In other news, the plant lost power and cooling for almost an hour after another aftershock yesterday. And, there were two more hydrogen explosions in the last couple of days. The worst happened at the #3 unit yesterday and injured 11 workers. The Japanese media now calls the workers at Fukushima the “Fukushima 700”.
The BBC has a short, readable overview of the past month at Fukushima for those who aren’t following this obsessively.