The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Japan should consider widening its current 20 km-radius evacuation zone around a stricken nuclear plant.
The nuclear watchdog’s warning comes after radiation contamination measured at a village 40 km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant exceeded levels that called for evacuation.
But the Japanese government insists an expansion of the current evacuation zone is not necessary yet.
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano says, “If there is a possibility, or if the situation starts to look like, for an extended period of time, there is a level of radiation that will affect human beings we will need to consider an evacuation. We will continue to monitor the radiation in the air and make all preparations so that when the need arises, we will be able to deal with it without delay, that is where we are at now”
Meanwhile, levels of radioactive iodine found in seawater near the plant rose further Thursday, more than 4,000 times above the legal limit.
Nuclear safety agency deputy director general, Hidehiko Nishimaya said, “Today’s levels measured 330 meters away from the water evacuation section of reactors No. 1 through 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, were again a little higher by 4,385 times.”
The presence of highly elevated levels of contaminated seawater follows the discovery of toxic plutonium in soil at the plant’s complex earlier this week.
Bottom line: The full impact of the nuclear crisis in Japan remains unknown. The latest development? IAEA suggests Japan widen the evacuation zone near nuclear plant, as radiation levels rise in seawater and on land near reactor.