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Radiation levels rise in Japan following third blast

Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 09:40 UK time, Tuesday, 15 March 2011


This topic was discussed on 15th March 2011. Click here to listen to the programme.

Hi, this is Martin again and not Ben Sutherland. I am still awaiting my own logon:

The Japanese authorities say that the radiation levels at the Fukushima nuclear plant are now high enough to affect human health.

There has been a third explosion and fire there. Officials have extended the surrounding danger zone, warning people within 30km to evacuate or stay indoors, while radiation levels in Tokyo are reportedly higher than normal.

The new explosion appears to have damaged one of the reactors' containment vessels for the first time. If it is breached, there are fears of more serious radioactive leaks.

In a televised address, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said: "There is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out."

Mr Kan added that the last remaining people within the existing 20km exclusion zone around the plant must leave.

Those living between 20km and 30km were also at risk and should not leave their homes.

"Now we are talking about levels that can impact human health," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.

He told residents: "Please do not go outside. Please stay indoors. Please close windows and make your homes airtight.

"Don't turn on ventilators. Please hang your laundry indoors."

Are you in the affected areas or do you have friends or family there?

Japan also announced a 30-km no-fly zone around the reactors to prevent planes spreading the radiation further afield.

Radiation levels around Fukushima for one hour's exposure rose to eight times the legal limit for exposure in one year, said the plant's operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Are you in the affected areas or elsewhere in Japan? Do you have friends or family there?

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