By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 2:13 AM on 19th March 2011
- Officials admit they may have to bury reactors under concrete – as happened at Chernobyl
- Government says it was overwhelmed by the scale of twin disasters
- Japanese upgrade accident from level four to five – the same as Three Mile Island
- We will rebuild from scratch says Japanese prime minister
- Particles spewed from wrecked Fukushima power station arrive in California
- Military trucks tackle reactors with tons of water for second day
The boss of the company behind the devastated Japanese nuclear reactor today broke down in tears – as his country finally acknowledged the radiation spewing from the over-heating reactors and fuel rods was enough to kill some citizens
Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency admitted that the disaster was a level 5, which is classified as a crisis causing ‘several radiation deaths’ by the UN International Atomic Energy.
Officials said the rating was raised after they realised the full extent of the radiation leaking from the plant. They also said that 3 per cent of the fuel in three of the reactors at the Fukushima plant had been severely damaged, suggesting those reactor cores have partially melted down.
After Tokyo Electric Power Company Managing Director Akio Komiri cried as he left a conference to brief journalists on the situation at Fukushima, a senior Japanese minister also admitted that the country was overwhelmed by the scale of the tsunami and nuclear crisis.
He said officials should have admitted earlier how serious the radiation leaks were.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: ‘The unprecedented scale of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, frankly speaking, were among many things that happened that had not been anticipated under our disaster management contingency plans.
‘In hindsight, we could have moved a little quicker in assessing the situation and coordinating all that information and provided it faster.’
Nuclear experts have been saying for days that Japan was underplaying the crisis’ severity.