not to upgrade worst nuclear accident
Japan, April 26, 2000
The Japanese government decided to maintain the level
4 rating of the Tokai-mura accident.
TOKYO - Japan has decided against upgrading its
first fatal nuclear plant accident, sticking to a preliminary rating
of "level four" rather than opting for the more serious level five.
level five was assigned to the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island in
the United States.
decided on level four for the final rating," a Science and Technology
Agency official said on Tuesday.
government had previously said the accident last September at a uranium
processing plant plant in Tokai, 140 km (90 miles) northeast of Tokyo,
might be upgraded to level five.
occurred when workers put nearly eight times the proper amount of condensed
uranium into a mixing tank, triggering a nuclear chain reaction.
four on the International Atomic Energy Agency's zero-to-seven International
Nuclear Event Scale indicates the possibility of a fatal radiation leak
at the accident site but no significant risk outside the plant, the
Soviet Union's Chernobyl accident in 1986, rated a level seven, was
the worst nuclear power accident on record.
University Hospital said on Monday that a 40-year-old worker exposed
to heavy doses of radiation in the Tokai incident had slipped into serious
patient's prognosis is uncertain after he suffered multiple organ failure,"
the hospital said in a statement. Another Tokai worker died as a result
of the accident late last year, while a third who suffered heavy radiation
exposure recovered and was released from hospital in December.
total of 439 workers and residents were exposed to radiation as a result
of the accident.