Thursday, March 31, 2011

Japan rejects IAEA's evacuation advice

Police undergo radiation checks after taking part in contamination precautions in Minamisoma City, Fukushima, Japan

Source: Press TV

Japan has rejected the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) advice to expand the evacuation zone around the quake-striken nuclear plant where radiation hit 4,000 times legal limits in the nearby sea.

"We have advised (Japan) to carefully assess the situation," said Denis Flory, a deputy director general of the IAEA, reiterating warnings that radiation in Litate village, 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the plant, has reached the evacuation level, Reuters reported on Thursday.

According to the UN body, radiation in the village exceeded a criterion for evacuation.

Japan's own nuclear safety agency has also advised Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government to consider widening the 20-km (12-mile) zone round the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The latest findings show high radiation was detected at twice that distance away.

Government officials are pleading for the Japanese people, and the world, to avoid overreaction to what they say are still low-risk levels of radiation away from the plant.

Japanese officials say no immediate action is needed to widen the current 20-kilometer exclusion zone.

More than 70,000 people have been evacuated from the 20-km ring. Another 136,000 who live in a 10-km (6-mile) band beyond that have been encouraged to leave or to stay indoors.

Nearly three weeks on from Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, the situation at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant remains unresolved.

Radiation found in sea water around the plant has also reached its highest level since the station was damaged earlier this month.

Japan's premier has said that the entire Fukushima complex should be dismantled to stop the spread of radioactive substance.

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