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Groups FOIA U.S. data on Fukushima radiation

Friends of the Earth, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Physicians for Social Responsibility have filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding U.S. government data on radiation releases from the Fukushima nuclear complex.

On March 16 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Gregory B. Jazcko told Congress that he was recommending the 50-mile evacuation radius but did not give an explicit explanation of how he had determined that this was necessary.

The three groups called the scope of this recommended evacuation “highly unusual and suggestive of extraordinarily high radiation levels in excess of those reported to the public in Japan and the U.S,” and they noted that the U.S. only requires reactor operators to plan for evacuations out to ten miles.

“The radiation monitoring information being collected by the U.S. Government in Japan is of urgent interest to the public in the U.S. and internationally and we expect an expedited response to the FOIA request,” Tom Clements, Southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth said in a statement. “If the full data set is not immediately released, the government can rightly be accused of attempting to cover up the radiation threat posed by the disaster. This would severely undermine regulators’ credibility.”

“We think the American and Japanese public have a right to see the complete details of the Fukushima radiation data and, therefore, we have requested the NRC and the DOE to release the information under the Freedom of Information Act, said attorney Diane Curran who filed the FOIA request for the groups. “If necessary, we are prepared to go to federal court to get the uncensored set of measurements.”

U.S. officials insist that the levels of radioactive pollution reaching the U.S. from Japan do not pose any health threat.

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