Japan PM says stricken nuclear plant to be scrapped

SENDAI, March 31, 2011 (AFP) – Japan said Thursday its crisis-hit nuclear plant must be scrapped, but currently had no plans to evacuate more people, despite calls for a larger exclusion zone around the crippled facility. “At the moment, we do not have the understanding that it is necessary to evacuate residents there. We think the residents can stay calm,” said Yoshihiro Sugiyama, an official at the nuclear safety agency.

Japan’s top government spokesman Yukio Edano also said further evacuations were not imminent, although he did not rule out that this could change.

“We will continue monitoring the level of radiation with heightened vigilance and we intend to take action if necessary,” he told reporters.

The comments came after the IAEA added its voice to that of Greenpeace, which has warned for several days that residents, especially children and pregnant women, should leave Iitate village.

The IAEA’s head of nuclear safety and security, Denis Flory, told reporters in Vienna that radiation levels there had exceeded the criteria for triggering evacuations.

He said the IAEA — which has no mandate to order nations to act — had advised Japan to “carefully assess the situation, and they have indica