Fukushima Alert Level Gets First Upgrade Since 2011

Meaning it's at its highest since the meltdown
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2013 7:40 AM CDT
Japan Upgrades Fukushima Alert to 'Serious Incident'
Workers stand on storage tanks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

(Newser) – With Fukushima's radioactive leak now leakier, Japan's nuclear agency plans to up the alert level of the problem from a one to a three, reports the BBC—that's from an "anomaly" to a "serious incident," per the UN's International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. For some perspective, the 2011 meltdown was a level seven, or a "major accident." Still, if the UN's nuclear agency OKs the upgrade, this would be the first time Japan has issued a warning since the original meltdown, notes Reuters.

Since the new leak was found, teams have been surrounding the affected tank with sandbags and trying to vacuum up puddles of radioactive water. But most of the water has already been absorbed into the ground, reports the BBC, and the chairman of the Japanese agency fears more tanks will follow suit soon. "We should assume that what has happened once could happen again, and prepare for more," he says, per the AP. "We are at a situation where there is no time to waste." (Read more Japan stories.)

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