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Japan:Evacuation area officially expanded + Related News

Friday, April 22, 2011

Laaska News April 22,2011

Evacuation area officially expanded

No-entry zone established in Fukushima
Radioactive water likely to hamper cooling effort

Evacuation area officially expanded

The Japanese government has announced the official expansion of the evacuation zone around the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to selected areas beyond the existing 20-kilometer radius. Residents of the new areas are being asked to evacuate by the end of May.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Friday that the government made the designation since residents there could be exposed to cumulative radiation levels of 20 millisieverts or more per year if they stay.

The 5 new municipalities are located to the northwest of the plant and are more than 20 kilometers from it.

Edano said that due to the possible impact on residents’ heath, the government is now urging them to evacuate within about a month.

Friday’s announcement followed the establishment at midnight Thursday of a no-entry zone within a 20-kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Edano also designated parts of areas within 20 to 30 kilometers of the plant as areas in which residents should remain indoors or be prepared to evacuate at any time in case of an emergency.

With this designation, the government lifted an earlier instruction to stay indoors for people in the 20- to 30-kilometer zone.

No-entry zone established in Fukushima

A no-entry zone has been imposed for the area within 20 kilometers of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

At midnight on Thursday, the off-limits zone was set up in 9 municipalities around the plant in line with a law governing disasters.

Authorities set up 75 checkpoints on the roads leading to the areas within the zone.

On Thursday night, before the no-entry zone was established, local residents were seen moving out of the zone in cars after being allowed to return temporarily to collect things left behind.

One woman entered the zone late on Thursday night. She said she came from Tokyo where she was sheltering and she was going to see how her pet was. She said she was wondering whether the zone was really dangerous.

Then at midnight on Thursday, a policeman at a checkpoint sealed off the road, changing the electric sign from ‘Restricted Entry’ to ‘No Entry.’

The government plans to allow residents to temporarily return home, excluding areas within 3 kilometers of the plant, and all municipalities involved are preparing for temporary returns.

Radioactive water likely to hamper cooling effort


The operator of the Fukushima nuclear power facility plans to cool the reactors by filling their vessels with water. However, that process may be hampered by wastewater contaminated with highly radioactive materials.

According Tokyo Electric Power Company’s blueprint for bringing the troubled facility under control, the Number 1 and 3 reactor vessels will be filled with water up to the height of the nuclear fuel rods by the middle of July. This is aimed at cooling the reactors in a stable manner.

TEPCO says that the water level has begun rising in the Number 1 reactor. It says water injected to cool the reactor vaporizes out of the reactor and then turns into water after being cooled inside the container.

However, if the container has been damaged, then highly radioactive water may seep out.

The utility needs to check the reactor turbine building for any water leakage from the building housing the reactor, but workers cannot enter the reactor building at present. However, the effort to identify the source of a leak is difficult because of radioactive water inside the basement of the turbine building.

Work to move contaminated water from the Number 2 reactor is already underway. However, it’s not clear when they can begin moving contaminated water from the Number 1 reactor.

TEPCO says the vessels containing the reactors are strong enough even if they are filled with water. However, the Nuclear Safety and Industry Agency believes that it is necessary to confirm whether the container is resistant to powerful earthquakes.
After the March 11th tsunami knocked out the plant’s backup power generators, water was injected to cool the reactors and spent fuel rod pools. As a result, the presence of radioactive water is hampering efforts to restore the reactors’ cooling systems.


Laaska News.