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TV News crews in Japan on the move with radiation fears mounting

With dozens of U.S. TV news journalists now on the ground in Japan, the bosses back home are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential for radiation poisoning due to the deteriorating conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

ABC’s David Muir, who was in the area of the plant yesterday and moved south after the explosion. During “Nightline” he held up a radiation meter which was not detecting anything out of the ordinary. This morning, that changed Diane Sawyer and her crew began heading back to Tokyo, explaining to George Stephanopoulos on “GMA” that radiation levels had increased through the day. “We came down this highway, the 7 1/2 hour trip,” said Sawyer. “We’re about midway through it now.” Correspondent Clarissa Ward has also moved out of the area. Her Japanese translator left the ABC News team yesterday, fearing radiation poisoning.

Weather becomes an important factor in this story as correspondents and crews watch the wind while covering the story.

“We are closely monitoring the situation, moment by moment,” David Verdi, VP of worldwide news gathering for NBC News tells TVNewser. “We are constantly consulting with our experts and tracking the wind patterns.” In addition to Lester Holt (right), Ann Curry, Chris Jansing, Ian Williams and Lee Cowan are covering for NBC/MSNBC.

CBS’s Harry Smith was in Northern Japan this morning for “The Early Show,” but he and all other CBS staffers have left. “We have moved our teams out of Sendai, Japan and we continue to reassess deployments, as the situation warrants,” says CBS News VP Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews.

CNN has 12 on-air and dozens more off-air staffers in Japan. Anderson Cooper has left the area of the nuclear plant and is heading north and will anchor from Akita, Japan, north of Sendai. “The situation is under constant review and the safety and well-being of our reporters in the field is our top priority,” says a spokesperson.

Fox News says it is constantly evaluating the situation, and has pulled its correspondents back to Tokyo. Shepard Smith, Adam Housley and Greg Palkot are in Tokyo, while David Piper is at Yokota airbase.

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