U.N. expert: Fukushima not as bad as Chernobyl

(AP) - The Japanese nuclear accident that has sparkedworldwide radiation fears ranks "in between" those that occurredat Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, a U.N. expert

VIENNA - (AP) - The Japanese nuclear accident that has sparkedworldwide radiation fears ranks "in between" those that occurredat Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, a U.N. expert said Wednesday.

Wolfgang Weiss, chairman of the U.N. Scientific Committee on theEffects of Atomic Radiation, said it's far too early to even beginan assessment of the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plantbecause the crisis there is ongoing.

But, he noted, while radioactivity from the 1979 Three MileIsland incident in the United States was largely contained, tracesof fallout from Fukushima detected around the world are "much,much, much lower" than traces seen at similar distances after the1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.

The six-reactor Japanese complex was crippled by anearthquake-triggered tsunami on March 11 and has been seepingradiation into the environment. Authorities are struggling to getthe situation under control and have indicated that could takemonths.

When reporters asked Weiss how he compares the Japanese crisisto its two predecessors, he said: "It's in between. It's not asdramatic as Chernobyl, but it's certainly much more serious than"Three Mile Island.

Weiss, who also heads the radiation protection and healthdepartment at Germany's Federal Office for Radiation Protection,noted that Fukushima's proximity to the Pacific Ocean wasbeneficial in containing the contamination and exposure to people.

"The Pacific takes it all and there we have huge dilution,"Weiss said.

Fred Mettler, a member of the U.N. committee, agreed, notingthat in contrast to Fukushima Chernobyl was surrounded by land.During that disaster, hundreds of people were exposed to very highdoses of radiation and 135 got acute radiation sickness, he added.

"We haven't seen any of that at Fukushima, so the earlymanagement by the Japanese here is very different from whathappened at Chernobyl," Mettler said.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

The footage was shared online by Thomas Marrone, 1 Video appears to show abuse inside NYDogWorks in Oceanside
Executive director of the Maritime Museum Terry Blipman 2 LI Maritime Museum hosts Dutch Christmas Festival
Police say James Burke, 76, veered off the 3 Police: Medical event led to fatal crash in Huntington Station
Empire State Development Corp. canceled its 4-year-old request 4 Plans for Belmont Park soccer stadium nixed by state
Angela Conte-Gentille says she remembers growing up in 5 Facebook post fuels push for East Meadow Ave. decorations

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Need help this holiday season? We've got you Holiday Help Series

Need a gift idea? Perhaps you need a fun idea to do with the kids?

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Dog Day Fridays Series

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Long Island with pets up for adoption.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE