"The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said Tuesday that it is concerned that radiation leakage at the plant could eventually exceed that of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.
''The radiation leak has not stopped completely and our concern is that the amount of leakage could eventually reach that of Chernobyl or exceed it,'' an official from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
Meanwhile, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that most of the radioactive material released in the air from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant came from the No. 2 reactor damaged by an explosion on March 15.
At 6:10 a.m. on March 15, part of the reactor's containment vessel was damaged following an apparent hydrogen explosion. Massive amounts of radioactive substances are believed to have been released from the suppression pool of the reactor, the agency said.
Japan on Tuesday raised the severity level of the accident at the plant to the maximum 7 on an international scale, up from the current 5 and matching that of the Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine.
The agency said, however, that the amount of radioactive materials released from the nuke plant is estimated to be about 10 percent of the amount released in the Chernobyl accident."