Greenpeace urges Japan to expand evacuation zone around nuclear

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 28, 2011 9:05 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Greenpeace called on the Japanese government to extend an evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, saying it had found high radiation levels outside the zone.

The environmental group said it had confirmed radiation levels of up to 10 microsieverts per hour in Iitate village, 40 km (25 miles) northwest of the nuclear plant.

"These levels are high enough to require evacuation," it said.

Japanese authorities have evacuated an area within a 20 km radius of the crippled Fukushima plant where engineers are battling to bring reactors under control following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

They have advised people from 20-30 km to stay indoors.

"It is clearly not safe for people to remain in Iitate, especially children and pregnant women, when it could mean receiving the maximum allowed annual dose of radiation in only a few days," said Greenpeace radiation safety expert Jan van de Putte.

"When further contamination from possible ingestion or inhalation of radioactive particles is factored in, the risks are even higher."

(Writing by Neil Fullick; Editing by Robert Birsel)