UN Calls for Wider Evacuation Zone at Fukushima

Radiation dangerously high in village 25 miles from plant
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2011 3:41 AM CDT
UN Calls for Wider Evacuation Zone at Fukushima
A boy walks among evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture as they settle in an evacuation center at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, north of Tokyo.   (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Masanobu Nakatsukasa)

Japanese officials are seriously considering taking the United Nations' advice and expanding the mandatory evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear complex as radiation continues to spew into the environment. People within 12 miles of the leaking plant have been ordered to leave, but the UN says radiation levels above safe limits have been found in a village 25 miles away, reports the BBC. Most residents have already left the village, officials say, but some 100 have chosen to remain.

Radiation levels in seawater near the plant have soared to 4,385 times the legal limit. Experts say the radiation is unlikely to contaminate seafood but several countries have banned imports of fish from areas near the plant, leaving fishermen worried that they will lose their livelihoods at a time when they desperately need money to rebuilt their homes. "I worry we won't be able to sell our seaweed. If the radiation ruins our fishing, we are lost," an innkeeper and seaweed farmer in a city near Fukushima tells AP. (More Japan evacuation stories.)

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