Moscow, March 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Greenpeace has suggested to extend the evacuation zone around Japan’s quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant from 20 to 40 km due to high radiation levels.
Workers are still battling to restore power and cooling systems at the plant, which was damaged by a powerful earthquake and tsunami March 11.
“The Japanese authorities are fully aware that high levels of radiation from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have spread far beyond the official evacuation zone,”
Greenpeace radiation safety expert Jan van de Putte said in a report.
“Yet they are still not taking action to properly protect people or keep them informed about the risks to their health.”
Highly radioactive water was found for the first time outside one of the reactor buildings of the quake-hit plant Monday and radiation has also been detected in the air and sea.
Greenpeace earlier 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.
Van de Putte is leading a group of Greenpeace experts who started work in the contaminated area last week to give independent assessment of radiation levels.
“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,” Greenpeace experts said.
“When further contamination from possible ingestion or inhalation of radioactive particles is factored in, the risks are even higher.”
The team said the size of the evacuation zone should be based on scientific data rather than political considerations.
“In addition to coming clean on the true dangers of the current nuclear crisis, the smartest move for Japan and governments around the world is to heavily invest in energy efficiency and redouble efforts to harness safe and secure renewable energy sources,” Jan van de Putte said.