IAEA: Radioactivity down in village outside exclusion zone

IAEA: Radioactivity down in village outside exclusion zone

Radioactivity in a Japanese village outside the nuclear exclusion zone has fallen so much that evacuation is no longer necessary, the IAEA reported Friday.

However, the agency based its assessment on an average for Iitate village and declined to provide the latest official Japanese data on individual measurements, dpa reported.

On Wednesday, the Vienna-based IAEA had said that radioactivity was more than double the threshold level for evacuations.

Japan's government said the following day that it had no immediate plans to vacate the small community that lies some 40 kilometres from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The current average for the radioactivity measurements for iodine- 131 is 7 megabecquerel per square metre of soil, IAEA expert Gerhard Proehl told reporters. Because iodine decays quickly, "the situation improves daily," he added.

The IAEA's limit is 10 megabecquerel per square metre.

The agency acknowledged that the average was based on a range of measurements between March 19 and 29 that were as high as 25 megabecquerel per square metre.

IAEA officials did not say where or when individual measurements had been above the limit.

Iitate village is not only outside the 20-kilometre evacuation zone around the plant but also beyond the 30-kilometre zone in which people have been advised to stay indoors.

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