As we publish, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster is being lifted to a severity level of 7 — the worst since the crisis began; the same as Chernobyl in 1986. Ben Sandilands reports today:

“Reports from Japan this morning indicate that the authorities have lost the battle to keep the lid on problems far more serious than they have been prepared to admit since the March 11 earthquake and following tsunami struck the six reactor site and inundated a vast area of NE Honshu, killing more than 40,000 people on current tallies of known dead and missing.”

One of the most concerning aspects to this disaster, and there are many, is the lack of disclosure from the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Electric Power Company.

Around 3000 people marched through central Tokyo earlier this week, a large demonstration by Japanese standards. The rally was organised by eight civic groups to protest the Hamaoka nuclear-power plant, located about 200km southwest of Tokyo in Shizuoka Prefecture, a region that seismologists believe is well overdue for a massive undersea earthquake of a magnitude 8 or higher. The disaster at Fukushima has people worried the same thing could happen again — with demonstrators saying their faith in the safety of nuclear power has changed.

And is it any wonder?

As Sandilands reports: “Extracting the precise information from the Japanese authorities has been so difficult that sequence of events remains unknown, but the extreme levels of radiation make it apparent everything went atrociously wrong.”

We do know this: “The reality is that we have six reactors which are suffering a wide range of serious issues, including partial meltdowns and ‘impossible’ structural failures.”

Meanwhile, the evacuation radius continues to widen…

Peter Fray

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