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Evacuation plans in 30-km perimeter: Less than half completed

August 3, 2015


Survey: 52% of medical, care facilities near nuclear plants lack evacuation plans




More than half of medical and nursing-care facilities within 30 kilometers of nuclear power plants across Japan have not compiled mandatory evacuation plans in the event of an accident, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.

The completion ratio for evacuation measures was far lower than the national average around the Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, which is expected to resume operations on Aug. 10 at the earliest.

Just two of 85 medical institutes and 15 of 159 nursing and other care facilities within a 30-km radius of the Sendai plant have developed evacuation plans, according to the survey.

The central government in 2012 extended the range of its disaster preparation zone from 8 to 10 km of nuclear facilities to 30 km. It mandated medical institutes, nursing homes and care facilities within the 30-km radius to specify evacuation destinations for patients, which routes to take and what means of transportation to use if a nuclear disaster strikes.

Only 223, or 34 percent, of the 650 medical institutions located in the zone throughout Japan said they have devised such evacuation plans for patients, according to the survey.

Fifty-one percent of all 2,489 nursing-care facilities within 30 km of nuclear plants said they have made emergency evacuation plans.

In total, around 47 percent of the facilities have compiled evacuation plans, according to the survey.

Currently, all reactors in Japan are offline. But Kyushu Electric Power Co. is pushing for its Sendai plant to be the first restarted under stricter safety guidelines introduced following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The wider disaster preparation zone came about in light of the confusion that hampered and prolonged the evacuation of residents and patients from around the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

However, the Kagoshima prefectural government in March this year narrowed the area in which medical and care facilities are obliged to create evacuation plans to 10 km, arguing, “It is unrealistic for all facilities within 30 km to develop emergency plans.”

All facilities inside the 10-km radius of the Sendai plant have created evacuation plans.

In the event of a nuclear accident, the Kagoshima prefectural government will coordinate evacuation procedures for each facility outside the 10-km zone based on wind direction and other factors, prefectural government officials said. The prefecture has gained the central government’s approval for the strategy, according to the officials.

The Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture and the Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture are also expected to be allowed to resume operations in the near future. All medical and care facilities in the prefectures within 30 km of the plants said they have created emergency evacuation plans for the patients, according to the survey.

In contrast, no facility in Shizuoka Prefecture has developed evacuation plans because the prefectural government does not have its own emergency strategy and remains unable to issue instructions to hospitals and other facilities.

The central government also obliges the 135 cities, towns and villages within 30 km of nuclear power plants to compile lists of people who cannot evacuate by themselves. Ninety-nine--or 73 percent--said they have made such lists.

Consent from the people listed is required for their information to be disclosed to police and firefighting organizations. Problems concerning personal information are likely behind the delay in compiling the lists.




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