darkonc writes "Early Tuesday in Japan, the government decided to raise the severity level of the accident to the maximum 7 on an international scale, up from the current 5 and matching that of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. The government declared the level 7 emergency because it is now estimated that the crippled plant was emitting over 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactivity for a number of hours at the height of the nuclear incident. Previously, on Monday, the government had expanded the evacuation zone around the plant to include at least 6 cities up to 60 km away from the plant. These cities, outside of the current 20-30 km evacuation area, are now expected to exceed the 20 millisieverts/year limit on residual radiation established by International Commission on Radiological Protection and the International Atomic Energy Agency in the case of an emergency."
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