After maintaining a parsly 20-km radiation zone for the past month, despite the urgings of many experts from around the world (including the IAEA), the Japanese government is finally admitting publicly that leaks from the plant pose dangers to people located in vicinities far closer than had been previously conceded. No decision on exactly how large the expanded evacuation area will be has been announced yet, but local media in Japan is reporting that the zone will be extended to 30km.
This is still insufficient, if the word of international nuclear experts can be believed. In fact, such an evacuation zone would fly in the face of the government’s own calculations regarding how much radiation people are being exposed to in the area around Fukushima, and is inconsistent with their recent raising of the INES level 7 – the highest rating possible.
According to preliminary data released by the Japanese government, the cumulative amount of external exposure to radiation in areas extending more than 60 kilometers northwest of the plant already exceeds the yearly limit of 1 millisievert. In the face of these numbers, it behooves the government to expand the zone to at least 60km.