Fukishima Update

Situation Update No. 118
On 24.05.2011 at 13:30

Seventy thousand people living beyond the 20-kilometre
no-go zone around Fukushima should be evacuated because of radioactivity
deposited by the crippled nuclear plant, a watchdog said. Updating its
assessment of the March 11 disaster, France's Institute for Radiological
Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) highlighted an area northwest of the plant
that lies beyond the 20-km (12 mile) zone whose inhabitants have already been
evacuated. Radioactivity levels in this area range from several hundred
becquerels per square metre to thousands or even several million bequerels per
square metre, the IRSN report, issued late Monday, said. Around 70,000 people,
including 9,500 children aged up to 14, live in the area, "the most contaminated
territory outside the evacuation zone," the agency said. "These are people who
are still to be evacuated, in addition to those who were evacuated during the
emergency phase in March," Didier Champion, its environmnent director, told

Staying in this area means the inhabitants would be exposed to
radiation of more than 10 millisieverts (mSv)in the year following the disaster,
according to the IRSN. This level is used in French safety guidelines for
protecting civilian populations after a nuclear accident. In France, 10 mSv is
three times the normal background radiation from natural sources. "Ten mSV is
not a dangerous dose in and of itself, it's more a precautionary dose," said
Champion, noting however that this figure that does not include any additional
doses from contaminated food or water. The 10 mSV derives from a calculation of
exposure to at least 600,000 becquerels per square metre, emitted by caesium 137
and 134, which are long-lasting radioactive elements. Of the 70,000 people in
the zone identified in the IRSN report, more than 26,000 could be exposed to
doses of more than 16mSv in the first year after the disaster. On May 15, Japan
began to evacuate 4,000 residents of the village of Iidate-mura and 1,100 people
in the town of Kawamata-cho, 30 kms from the plant. The two locations had
consistently received high amounts of radioactive dust due to wind patterns. The
IRSN report is based on data for radioactivity reported by the Japanese
authorities and from US overflights of the zone.



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