The International Atomic Energy Agency has been providing updates on the damaged Japanese nuclear plants on its Facebook page.
“Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has informed the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre that there has been an explosion at the Unit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and that they are assessing the condition of the reactor core,” the latest statement said. “The explosion was reported to NISA by the plant operator, TEPCO, at 0730 CET. Further details were not immediately available.”
The statement noted that authorities have extended evacuation zones surrounding both the Fukushima Daiichi plant and the nearby Fukushima Daini plant.
“The authorities also say they are making preparations to distribute iodine to residents in the area of both the plants,” the statement said.
“The IAEA has reiterated its offer of technical assistance to Japan, should the government request this. The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities, and is in full response mode to monitor the situation closely around the clock as it evolves.”
Meanwhile, an official at Japan’s nuclear safety agency told Reuters the nuclear accident rates as less serious than both the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 and the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
The agency has rated the incident at Tokyo Electric Power’s nuclear plant north of Tokyo a 4, according to the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.
Three Mile Island was rated a 5, while Chernobyl was rated 7 on the 1 to 7 scale, the official said.