Officials raise the threat level at Japanese nuclear plant

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 Friday 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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VIENNA (AP) -- The U.N. nuclear chief plans to brief his agency's 35-nation board on Monday on the nuclear crisis in Japan.

An internal note by the chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board made available to The Associated Press on Friday says the panel will meet on request of IAEA chief Yukiya Amano.

Amano flew to Tokyo on Thursday to assess the situation. He is expected back to return to Vienna, where the IAEA is based, this weekend.

Emergency crews are trying to restore a crippled Japanese nuclear plant's cooling system and prevent overheated fuel rods from releasing massive doses of radioactivity.

The plant was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami a week ago.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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