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Japan raises severity of nuclear accident

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Mar. 18, 2011 11:22
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In this photo taken on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 and released on Thursday, March 17 by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), white smoke billows from the badly damaged No. 4 unit of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okumamachi, Fukushima Prefecture. A nearly completed new power line could restore cooling systems in Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear power plant, its operator TEPCO said Thursday, raising some hope of easing the crisis that has threatened a meltdown and already spawned dangerous radiation surges.
Photo by AP
TOKYO (AP) — Japan's nuclear safety agency has raised the rating of the country's nuclear accident from 4 to 5 on a 7-level international scale.
An official of the agency said March 18 the agency raised the rating of the Fukushima nuclear crisis on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The scale defines a level 4 incident as having local consequences and a level 5 incident as having wider consequences.

The official declined to give other details.
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