Japan Crisis Upgrade Woefully Late

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace on Tuesday said Japan’s upgrading of its Fukushima nuclear disaster to the top level of seven on an international scale was “woefully late”.

Japan upped its nuclear emergency to a “major accident” and a maximum level on a UN global scale of atomic crises, the first time the highest ranking has been invoked since the Ukraine’s 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

“Greenpeace has been calling for a level seven rating for three weeks,” said Thomas Breuer, head of the Climate and Energy Unit at Greenpeace Germany.

“However, as we have seen with the evacuation zone around the nuclear plant, the government?s response is consistently lacking,” he said, referring to news this week of planned evacuations beyond a 20 kilometre (12 mile) radius.

Greenpeace labelled the upgrade “woefully late” and again called on Japan to immediately step up protective measures for affected populations, including pregnant women and children living in towns beyond the 20 kilometre zone.

“The history of the nuclear industry is littered (with) cover-ups and underplaying of the consequences of nuclear accidents,” said Breuer.

“The industry both inside and outside Japan have again been underplaying the human consequences of this terrible tragedy, and only now after a month has this disaster been accepted for what it is — the worst on its scale.”

Breuer went on to say that still “this is not the worst case scenario. As the industry still struggles to bring the stricken nuclear complex under control, much more radiation could be released”.

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