Fukushima Daiichi leak raised to level 3 severity
The revision from level 1 is based on estimates of the volume of radioactive substances leaked.
The leak was found earlier this month at one of the tanks storing highly radioactive water. The plant operator estimates 300 tons of contaminated water flowed out of the tank and through a ditch, some of it possibly reaching the sea.
Officials at the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday ranked the incident 2 notches higher on the international scale of nuclear and radiological events.
The scale is from zero to 7 and grades nuclear events ranging from no significant safety threat to a major accident.
The International Atomic Energy Agency supports the revision. They say the tank leak can be assessed separately from the Fukushima Daiichi crisis as a level 3 incident. The crisis overall has been ranked as a level-7 major accident.
Japanese experienced a level-3 nuclear event in 1997 with the fire and explosions at a fuel reprocessing plant in Tokai Village, Ibaraki Prefecture. 37 workers there were exposed to the leaked radioactive substances.
Aug. 28, 2013 - Updated 06:24 UTC