()TOKYO (majirox news) — Parts of the 20-kilometer (12.42 mile) Evacuation Zone around the radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are close to being declared uninhabitable and the ban on entering the area maintained, possibly for decades, according to the Yomiuri newspaper on Aug. 21.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan is poised to explain the situation to local government leaders from the affected leaders and apologize for evacuation from the area becoming long-term rather than temporary.
Excess radiation dozens of times greater than the acceptable annual safety level in parts of the zone is behind the moves, which thwart national government plans to reopen the area by January next year upon achieving a cold shutdown of the plant, which went into meltdown after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit the Tohoku Region.
Expected to come under closest scrutiny are the Fukushima prefecture towns of Futaba and Okuma, both of which lie within 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of the leaking reactor. As reported in Majirox News, the Koirino district of Okuma registered radiation equivalent to an annual intake of 508.1 millisieverts , well above the government’s permitted annual safety level of 20 mSv.
The national government set up the Evacuation Zone in April, making it illegal to enter the area within a 20-kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi plant except under extraordinary circumstances.
They had been planning to allow residents evacuated from the zone to return to their homes after achieving cold shutdown, but the excessively high radiation detected in the area will make at least parts of the zone uninhabitable.