News / Asia

IAEA: Fukushima, Chernobyl Accidents Not Comparable Despite Severity

A man arrives at an evacuation center for people affected by the explosion of the nuclear plant , at the Big Palette Fukushima convention center in Koriyama, northern Japan, April 5, 2011
A man arrives at an evacuation center for people affected by the explosion of the nuclear plant , at the Big Palette Fukushima convention center in Koriyama, northern Japan, April 5, 2011
Lisa Bryant

The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, said Tuesday that last month's accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is very different from the Chernobyl power plant explosion in what is now Ukraine in 1986 - despite both disasters being classified at the highest level on the nuclear incident scale.  

Speaking at a press conference in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency's Deputy Director Denis Flory described the increased severity rating of Japan's nuclear accident as a communications tool.  He said the Level 7 classification does not mean that Japanese authorities had downplayed the accident, but that they had not been able to measure the total amount of radiation released initially.

"Without evaluating that and on the basis of the measurements in the environment, measurement of food, etc., the Japanese government had already acted," he said.  "And before that, just at the beginning of the accident, the Japanese government had evacuated zones 10 and 20 kilometers [from the plant] and now even more than that."

Although the Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear power plant accidents are the worst in history, Flory said the two disasters are not comparable.

"The Fukushima accident and Chernobyl are very different," he said.  "Chernobyl happened when the reactor had power, it was a huge explosion, vapor, power explosion, and then you had a huge graphite fire."

At Chernobyl, radiation spread over a wide area when a reactor exploded.  So far at Fukushima, most of the radiation has been contained in large concrete structures, although Japanese officials say those chambers might be leaking.

The IAEA's Denis Flory said the amount radiation released at Chernobyl was far higher than at Fukushima.  He cited Japanese data that show the Fukushima plant has released about one-tenth of the radioactive material that was released at Chernobyl.  Although he described the situation at the Japanese plant as "very serious," Flory said that tests of food produced in eight prefectures around Fukushima have found little or no radioactive material.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More