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Govt. Prompts Koreans to Evacuate from 80km Zone Surrounding Nuclear Plant Updated: 2011-03-17 00:00:00 KST

Amid escalating fear over radiation exposure from Japan's mangled nuclear power plant in Fukushima, the Korean government is now advising Korean residents or travelers within the 80-kilometer radius from the facilities to evacuate the danger zone or at best, remain indoors.
And such a decision comes after the White House announced its own recommendation for Americans in Japan, to move farther away from the site compared to what the Japanese government is advising.


[Interview : Kim Sung-hwan, Korean Foreign Minister] "The United States and Britain have extended Japan's call for evacuation and curfew within a 20 or 30-kilometer radius from the nuclear power plant and are advising their citizens to leave the area within a 50-mile or about 80-kilometer radius. And we have also applied the extension."


Both Seoul and Washington, however, have repeatedly stressed their recommendation by no means reflect a lack of faith in Tokyo's handling of the post-quake situation.
The Korean foreign ministry on Thursday did not increase the area under travel restriction, which currently bans Korean nationals from the 30-kilometer zone surrounding the Daiichi plant.
While it is difficult to know exactly how many out of some 2-thousand Korean-Japanese in Fukushima Prefecture are still within the 80-kilometer radius, officials in Seoul say there are only about 10 Koreans, with the exception of the emergency and rescue teams, in the nearby Sendai City.
And Sendai is about 120 kilometers from Fukushima, beyond the 80-kilometer mark.
Over in Europe, the European Union has issued a consumer advice through a rapid food safety alert system on Tuesday, calling on member nations to inspect for radiation in Japanese food imports.
Should a government detect radiation surpassing the accepted levels, it will need to inform the other members to restrict inbound shipments.
Meanwhile, China, which was recently battered by a series of earthquakes, says it will place approval for new nuclear plants on hold and inspect 20 plants that are currently under construction.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.
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