IAEA examining data on Fukushima accident

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New Delhi, Apr 12: Top nuclear scientists at IAEA are this week examining the raw data from the troubled atomic power plants at Fukushima and discussing changes in the safety features for such reactors even as Japan raised the severity rating of their nuclear crisis to the highest level, seven.

The Senior Advisory Group on Nuclear Energy is meeting in Vienna from today where nuclear experts from Japan will also participate and share their experiences in tackling the nuclear crisis following the massive March 11 earthquake.

"It is not a review, but (we are) only trying to comprehend how it happened. It will be like getting first hand information on the crisis in Japan," Baldev Raj, Director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam told PTI here.

He said the Senior Advisory Group (SAG) meets once every six months and this time the agenda has become Fukushima and the scientists will get a perspective from Japan on how the crisis unfolded.

Raj is member of the SAG which has representation from 20 member countries of the global nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Japan raised the severity level of the ongoing emergency at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to seven on the INES scale, bracketing it with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the world's worst nuclear accident in the then Soviet Union.

However, the radioactive material release in the atmosphere at Fukushima is approximately one tenth of the Chernobyl accident, when the nuclear reactor core had exploded, leading to release of huge amount of radioactive material in a very short space of time.

Japan's nuclear safety authorities said that between 370,000 and 630,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials have been emitted into the air from the three reactors at the plant site.

Level 7 accidents on the International Nuclear Event Scale correspond to the release into the external environment of radioactive materials equal to more than tens of thousands of terabecquerels of radioactive iodine 131. One terabecquerel equals 1 trillion becquerels.

The Nuclear Safety Review Convention meeting has also begun at the IAEA on April four. The ten-day conference has been discussing the country reports on nuclear safety submitted by IAEA member nations.


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