The IAEA which is quickly outstaying its Japanese welcome by disclosing actual facts about the radioactive fallout around the power plant, has just announced that it has found excessive radioactivity in a village 40 km from Fukushima. While the news will not be a surprise to anyone watching the grand lie unfold over the past three weeks, it may hopefully force the Japanese government to finally relent and extend the evacuation perimeter from the existing 20 km, thereby actually preventing the needless loss of life in the long run. From Reuters: "Radiation measured at a village 40 km from Japan's crippled nuclear plant exceeded a criterion for evacuation, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday, the latest sign of widening consequences from the crisis. Criticized for weak leadership during Japan's worst crisis since World War Two, Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said he is considering enlarging the evacuation area to force 130,000 people to move, in addition to 70,000 already displaced."The first assessment indicates that one of the IAEA operational criteria for evacuation is exceeded in Iitate village," Denis Flory, a deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said. "We have advised (Japan) to carefully assess the situation and they have indicated that it is already under assessment," he told a news conference." Hopefully our Japanese readers who have been following our coverage of this tragedy, which many have at times called "hysteric" even if always based on facts, have already evacuated long ago. Ultimately, it is one thing for the government to lie with just the Russell 2000's closing level being at stake. It is something totally different when people's mutagenic skills and/or life expectancy is at stake. When this is all said and done, Kan will likely be forced into exile for his tragic botching of an operationg whose only downside to disclosing the truth would have been a few hundred points in the Nikkei/S&P. Well, those losses will still come eventually, but at least thousands of lives would not have been put needlessly at risk in the meantime.
More from Reuters:
Greenpeace this week said it had confirmed radiation levels in this village northwest of the plant high enough to evacuate. But Japan's nuclear safety agency on Monday rebuffed a call by the environmental group to widen the evacuation zone.
The IAEA also said it had been told by Singapore that some cabbages imported from Japan contained radioactive iodine above the levels recommended for international trade.
"Some samples were over the Codex Alimentarius values recommended for international trade," said Flory.
David Byron, a U.N. food agency official seconded to the IAEA, said the recommended level was 100 becquerels per kg and that one of the samples in Singapore was up to nine times above that. "Other samples were also over that level," he said, although not as much.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said the situation at the Fukushima plant remained very serious despite increased efforts by authorities to get it under control.
And more on the recriticality news reported earlier:
In a potentially negative development, Flory said the agency had heard there might be "recriticality" at the plant, in which a nuclear chain reaction would resume, even though the reactors were automatically shut down at the time of the quake.
That could lead to more radiation releases, but it would not be "the end of the world," Flory said. "Recriticality does not mean that the reactor is going to blow up. It may be something really local. We might not even see it if it happens."
Eventually we are certain that the evacuation radius will be extended to at least 50 km, but not before many more horrendous political decisions are made, more lives at put at risk, all predicated exclusively by financial interest motives, and the preservation of the capital markets status quo.