So, there was a wake up call this morning at 8:08 in the form of an ever nearer 6.6 quake. Fukushima caught fire which was put out. Some shinkansen lines are suspended. The metro is out during rush hour, a time of controlled chaos in normal times, but … well, just imagine a city of 14 million trying to take a train that is not running. Then, I see this bit of joy:
The Japanese government’s nuclear safety agency has decided to raise the crisis level of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident from 5 to 7, the worst on the international scale.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency made the decision on Monday. It says the damaged facilities have been releasing a massive amount of radioactive substances, which are posing a threat to human health and the environment over a wide area.
On March 18th, one week after the massive quake, the agency declared the Fukushima trouble a level 5 incident, the same as the accident at Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979.
Level 7 has formerly only been applied to the Chernobyl accident in the former Soviet Union in 1986 when hundreds of thousands of terabecquerels of radioactive iodine-131 were released into the air. One terabecquerel is one trillion becquerels.
[From NHK WORLD English]
The trains came back online and I headed out to Gold’s in Harajuku. If I wasn’t so busy I would not have noticed the 6.3 of this afternoon had it not been for my exact position on my back directly below a long row of large CRT TV’s … which began swinging violently. It’s a good thing the gym took the precaution of securing those things really well!
UPDATE: As to the elevation to level 7 … apparently the danger was always at level 7, but the equipment needed to measure such things was destroyed by … what it was supposed to measure!