By Ria Novosti
Japanese authorities are preparing to hand out iodine, which helps protect the body from radioactive exposure, to residents in the area near the nuclear power plants hit by a massive earthquake.
The U.S. and France also said they had plans to distribute doses of stable potassium iodine.
Media reports said earlier on Saturday the cooling system had failed at the Fukushima nuclear plant in northeastern Japan. Pressure was eased and steam was released from the nuclear reactor to prevent any meltdown.
The Fukushima prefectural government has expanded the evacuation area around Fukushima Number 1 Power Station from an earlier established 10-kilometer radius to a 20-kilometer radius.
The prefectural government is working to determine which towns and villages fall under the new evacuation order, NHK Television said.