Fukushima — The New Chernobyl
If you’re like me you’ve had the sense, all along, that Japanese “officials” and the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCo) were minimizing what was happening at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. I mean, trusting TEPCo for news about what’s going on is like trusting the people who make Twinkies to tell us how “healthy” they are:
Japanese officials decided Tuesday to raise nuclear crisis alert level to 7 highest, equal to Chernobyl.
Earlier Tuesday, the operator of Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant says workers discovered a small fire near a reactor building at its tsunami-stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi complex but it was extinguished quickly.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. says the fire at a box that contains batteries in a building near the No. 4 reactor was discovered at about 6:38 a.m. Tuesday morning and was put out seven minutes later.
It wasn’t clear whether the fire was related to a magnitude-6.3 earthquake that shook the Tokyo area Tuesday morning. The cause of the fire is being investigated.
I can’t help but wonder what’s next. Over the course of a month — today is the one month anniversary of the quake/tsunami — we’ve gone from no problem to getting better to Chernobyl.
There is no “nuclear crisis alert level” above 7. So I guess from here on out, we’re on our own as to gauging the severity of what’s going on.
UPDATE: 10:34 p.m. EDT: Predictable: