(Update: see new post about time evolution of Chernobyl media coverage in Fukushima news)
Nuclear disaster appears right now as unavoidable. From the very beginning of the nuclear problems is Fukushima nuclear plant I at Daiichi there have been references to main historical nuclear accidental disasters: Three Mile Island plant and Chernobyl nuclear plant. Opposed to these references, there have been many calls from officials and experts in the initial days ensuring that those references are too extreme and should not be reached in this Japanese emergency.
According to the National and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) from Japan, the Fukushima incident was estimated a Level 4 incident according to the INES scale, yet by Sunday March 13th. By Wednesdat March 16th, this is still the official estimation of the extent of the damages, also confirmed as Level 4 by IAEA. By Tuesday March 15th, the French ASN estimated the incident as being a Level 6. Chernobyl was considered a level 7 nuclear accident, the maximum value in the scale. The timeline of the nuclear problems in Fukushima and the INES evaluations can be followed at Wikipedia. Many news since early Tuesday suggest that Fukushima nuclear disaster is clearly something more serious than an “accident with local consequences” (INES definition of Level 4) and reminds clearly a Chernobyl “major accident” (INES definition of Level 7).
We show in this post how local media in each country is referring to the Chernobyl disaster in the storyline of the Fukushima disaster. We have included some selected countries. In order to ensure meaning to the results, we impose that we count for every selected country at least with 30 different news about Fukushima.
First graph refers to countries in Europe. Some missing countries will come later. According to our results, the country that insists the most for conecting Fukushima case with Chernobyl disaster is France media. Remember that from French nuclear watchdog organisation came the call to consider Fukushima as a Level 6 nuclear problem. Other countries insisting more in the Chernobyl relation are ireland, Czech Republic and United Kingdom.
Concerning the countries from America we find that US media is the country insisting the most, but to a lower extent than France.
Final figure depicts the Asian and Oceania cases. We find in this region the countries most sensitives to the reminder to Chernobyl disaster when publishing news about Fukushima. Leading reference is Pakistan, a nuclear power. Highly sensistive are also Australia and New Zealand, and neighbour Philippines and Malaysia.
Japan VII. Fukushima as a Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: Media References by Countries