Citing new information from Japan, the U.S. government is now warning its citizens to avoid all areas within 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
“Additional data are now available from Japanese authorities, allowing for a fuller assessment by U.S. government scientists," read a travel alert released by the State Department Friday.
Japan’s no-go zone radius has hovered at 12 miles from the crippled plant since at least June. In addition, the State Department said Friday that U.S. citizens should avoid the area northwest of the plant, which has been designated as an evacuation area.
Short-term visitors travelling within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima plant should not be adversely affected by the varying levels of radiation Japan has reported since the accident, the alert said. And Pregnant women, children, and the elderly should avoid residing within 18 miles (30 kilometers) of the plant.
The U.S. military executed a major relief effort in Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami -- which triggered the nuclear meltdown.
The Defense Department spent nearly $35 million for 10,000 military dependents to leave Japan during the height of the nuclear crisis and has since installed two high-powered radiation detectors at a U.S. base just outside Tokyo.
From staff reports