Some More information and less opinion, please
Well, given that it's been a week since we heard anything from Lewis on this, I thought he was in hiding. It's not like the news has been any kinder to the situation.
First off, let's start with published data: http://www.mext.go.jp/english/radioactivity_level/detail/1304082.htm
These are readings around Fukushima, out to 40km. They have daily updates on the dosage levels.
Please note that the hightest rating is over 50 microsieverts/hr, not 1.6 as noted by the MIT guys. There's another site at 25, and several over 10, and many reading above 3.
Is 10 microsieverts/hr going to kill you? No, I'm not saying that is. 240uS/day is about 85 milisieverts a year, which is much higher than the background rate, but not immediately threatening, but the point here is that reporting the measured rates at only 1.6uS/hr is misinformation. Took me all of about a minute to find that data, too.
Lewis concentrates too much on iodine, as other have noted. Cesium-137 levels 1600x the normal rate have been found in Iitate village. This is the stuff with a 30 year half-life. This is what drives the creation of an evacuation zone.
Article here: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/23_28.html
Also, I notice that Lewis is completely ignoring the spent fuel pools, and the status of the "open to the atmosphere" fuel rods in them. In this case, we don't have to have a reactor breach to release serious sources of radiation, as the water in the fuel pools was gone at one point. I'd note that the spent fuel rods in 4 were active enough to:
1) boil off the water
2) react with the water vapor to generate H2
3) and blow the roof off of a unit where the reactor was even in operation.
That's with only 0.37% of the power (as Lewis notes) that the rods in the other 3 cores have going for them.
So where is the fuel from the spent fuel ponds? Unit 3 looks to be where it's supposed to, but Unit 4's fuel from the spent pool seem to be missing. The analysis here is interesting:
If you want some real inside information, look at these numbers from NISA:
These are the operating numbers from the 3 reactors for temperature, pressure and radiation, probably from the normal monitoring units. I've pointed you at unit 1, because it's the most troubling. Yes, those units are Sieverts/hr, no mili or micro, full up, "put hair on your chest" sieverts. You know, the 1S that Lewis described as, "...probably won't kill you". Given that these reading are from just outside the reactor core and from the suppression ring (the torus), I would expect them to be high. But 100 Sieverts/hr near the core? 12 S/hr in the torus? Look at the numbers for the other active units. Neither unit's 2 nor 3 are anywhere near those levels.
What's telling is that NISA hasn't released any new data for the last 3 days.
This speaks of a core breach in unit 1. Perhaps not the concrete containment structure (fully 40 feet thick at the bottom), but it appears that the reactor in unit 1 has been breached. If that's the case, then prospects for further release of radiation have increased. Perhaps this is what is driving the higher classification.
I think the Reg might be better off putting Lewis' unending admiration for the nuclear industry aside, and let someone do some actual reporting. Just because I support the idea of nuclear power, doesn't mean that I need to be a cheerleader for the power companies, and the way things are run now.