Evacuation outside 20 km radius of Fukushima plant starts

Evacuation outside 20 km radius of Fukushima plant starts

Families with babies and children up to kindergarten age and pregnant women are the first of the 7,700 residents of two towns to evacuate, RIA Novosti cited the TV channel as reporting.

Municipal officials have said they have secured temporary housing for almost all of the residents who want it.

Some farmers cannot evacuate soon as they have not been able to find places to move their cattle. Some families cannot move together to designated temporary housing or cannot decide on the place to go as they would be far from work or school, the TV channel said.

The Japanese government has expanded the evacuation zone around the plant to areas where cumulative radiation levels are 20 millisieverts or higher per year, the TV channel said.

An earthquake and a tsunami that swept northeastern Japan two months ago damaged the cooling system at Fukushima.

In mid-April, Japan's nuclear authorities assigned the highest level of danger to the Fukushima nuclear disaster for the first time after the devastating Chernobyl nuclear accident in the Soviet Union in 1986.