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Japan Declares State Of Emergency, Evacuates Residents Near Nuclear Power Plant

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Over 3,000 have been moved out of the area that could pose radiation 'issues.'

The radiation threat from a nuclear reactor whose cooling system was damaged by Friday's massive earthquake prompted Japan's prime minister to expand the area of evacuation to a 10 km radius from 3 km. Radiation levels around the Fukushima Daiichi power plant had risen to eight times their normal levels, according to Kyodo news agency, but preparatory work to release the pressure at the plant would take time. About 3,000 people who live within a 3 km radius of the plant had been evacuated, according to Kyodo news agency.

"It's possible that radioactive material in the reactor vessel could leak outside but the amount is expected to be small and the wind blowing towards the sea will be considered," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference.

Japan Evacuating Residents Near Nuke Plant [Reuters]