Japan's nuclear agency has raised the severity level of a radioactive water leak at Fukushima’s nuclear power plant from one to three on an international scale, describing it as a “serious incident.”
The Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said in a statement on Wednesday that according to the UN’s International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), the upgrading of the evaluation of the leak to level three means “anomaly.”
The agency went on to explain that level-three cases on the INES seven-point scale are considered as “serious incidents” with “exposure in excess of ten times the statutory annual limit for workers.”
The statement came one day after Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator company of Fukushima, announced that some 300 tons of radioactive water was leaked from a storage tank into the ground at the coastal facility.
The leak, first classified as a level-one incident on the INES scale, has grown to its worst condition since the crisis began at Fukushima two years ago, the agency said.
The Fukushima plant was damaged in a mega-earthquake followed by a tsunami on March 11, 2011. A meltdown at the plant reportedly resulted in radioactive water getting leaked into the sea.
A report released by a Japanese parliamentary panel later said the incident at the Fukushima nuclear plant was not only due to the tsunami, but was a “man-made disaster.”
The report criticized “governments, regulatory authorities and Tokyo Electric Power” for being devoid of “a sense of responsibility to protect people’s lives and society.”