The radiation threats coming out of nuclear-plants that were crippled by the tsunami on Mar 11, have now attained catastrophic levels. The Japanese government on Apr 12, raised the severity rating of the nuclear crisis to the maximum, putting it at par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
A spokesman for Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on April 12, said that the organisation has raised the rating to 7.
The accident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi station was previously marked as 5 on the global scale putting it in the same bracket as the 1979 partial reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, US.
The crippled nuclear plant which is located about 220 kilometers north of Japan's capital city Tokyo, is leaking radiation in Japan"s worst civilian nuclear disaster.
Levels 1,2 and 3 are classified as incidents that can be corrected and don't pose as a major threat. Those from 4 to 7 are defined as accidents, that range from cause of concern to devastating. Level 7 means, a “major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures," the IAEA fact-sheet says.