Nuclear melt down fears for Norfolk and Suffolk people

A Suffolk woman caught up in the Japanese earthquake disaster is moving away from a badly damaged nuclear plant over fears of a melt down and radiation poisoning.

Tomorrow Maddie Smith, 23, from Burgh St Peter, near Beccles, will be moving from her apartment in Sendai to further south of Japan to avoid any risk of possible radiation poisoning from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Sendai, which was badly hit by the last Friday's earthquake and tsunami, is only 40 miles from the Fukushima reactors.

The Japanese authorities and military are trying to stop a possible melt down at the plant, whose reactors have been hit by fire and explosions.

There is a 20 mile exclusion zone around Fukushima with government officials admitting yesterday the situation was critical as engineers and the army desperately tried to cool down reactors.

Miss Smith, who has been in Japan since December as a kindergarten English teacher, will be moving from Sendai with her boyfriend Gus Byrne, 23 from Surrey.

She said: 'We are getting on an embassy bus that goes to Tokyo then from there we are heading south of the country to keep away from the nuclear plant.

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'We did want to stay and help but do not want to take up there limited resources and feel it is not so safe any more with the nuclear problems.'

At the time of the earthquake Miss Smith was in a train station at Sendai and had to flee the building to avoid any harm.

The couple's apartment was slightly damaged by the earthquake but they had to live in an emergency shelter for three days as they had no gas or water.

The part of Sendai they lived in was not hit by the tsunami, which has claimed at least 10,000 lives.

As Miss Smith prepared to move a former University of East Anglia graduate and keen Norwich City fan living in Tokyo said he is not planning to leave the city even though there are fears of a radiation cloud heading towards the capital city.

Dominick Okamoto, originally Haslam, and who works for Barcap, has said he has looked into evacuating his family to the island of Okinawa.

But in a internet blog he said: 'For now we do not plan to leave. There is no indication Tokyo is under enough of a threat to cause us harm.'

A former Gorleston man has vowed to stay in Japan even though many fellow Britons are leaving due to the threat of radiation leaking from Fukushima.

Teacher Richard Spinks, 40, wears a white surgical mask to stop him breathing in any radioactive materials from the nuclear power station.

But Mr Spinks, who grew up in Edinburgh Avenue and has lived in Japan for 12 years, will not be leaving his home city of Sakura to join the exodus of foreign nationals.

The former Great Yarmouth College student lives with his wife Kazumi, 37, in Sakura 400km from the plant.

He said: 'We are staying put. Our home is here, but we are a bit worried about it, yes.

'It depends on the weather and wind direction and they have been flying helicopters over the plant dropping sea water to stop further explosions.'

On Saturday at 5am Emma Self, 23, from Salhouse Road, Norwich, will be arriving back in England from Japan after her university which organised her year abroad called all its students home the disaster struck country.

Miss Self will be greeted at Heathrow airport by her anxious parents.

Her father Richard Self said they were worried about the reports of a possible nuclear disaster and would give her the biggest hug when they met her at the arrival gate.