Japan considers wider nuclear evacuation zone

Thursday, April 7, 2011
By Paul Martin

Google.com
4/7/2011

TOKYO — Japan said Thursday it is considering expanding the area covered by a compulsory evacuation order, with no immediate end in sight to the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

As emergency workers began pumping nitrogen into the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant to prevent further explosions, the government said it was seeking advice from experts on whether more areas should be evacuated.

Residents within a 20-kilometre (12-mile) radius of the nuclear power plant have already been ordered to leave, while those living up to 10 kms beyond that have only been told to stay indoors.

Evacuation orders are currently issued when residents are at risk of receiving radiation of at least 50 millisieverts, but the government said that arrangement assumed only brief exposure.

“The standard does not take into account the effects of accumulative exposure,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. “We are discussing what standards to use for accumulative radiation.”

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