25 Août 2018
August 25, 2018
Japan holds nuclear disaster drill for multiple simultaneous accidents in Fukui
FUKUI – The government held a comprehensive disaster drill Saturday for a scenario in which serious accidents simultaneously strike the Oi and Takahama nuclear plants in Fukui Prefecture.
This is the first disaster response drill designed for simultaneous atomic accidents at multiple plants since the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March 2011.
The drill, which lasts through Sunday, involves some 21,000 people including residents and officials from the Cabinet Office, the Nuclear Regulation Authority and municipal governments.
Preparations involving the Oi and Takahama plants, both managed by Kansai Electric Power Co., are deemed necessary because they are just 13.5 km from each other.
The exercise assumes radioactive substances are released from the plants after an earthquake in northern Kyoto knocks out the reactors’ cooling systems.
As part of the drill, task forces created at the two plants’ off-site emergency response centers were integrated into Oi’s task force.
Katsunori Yamamoto, 64, who runs a nursing home within 5 km of the Takahama plant, took part by playing one of the home’s residents. He was moved to an evacuation site in Tsuruga by a wheelchair-accessible van driven by a Kansai Electric worker.
“I want to assess risks to our nursery home residents,” he said. Six of the 18 residents use wheelchairs.
Disaster drill underway for Fukui nuclear plants**
Emergency crews and residents in central Japan began a major disaster drill on Saturday that is the first exercise of its kind.
The 2-day drill is being held at 2 nuclear power plants in Fukui Prefecture.
The Cabinet Office planned the exercise to prepare for accidents striking multiple locations at the same time.
The drill is based on a scenario of an earthquake causing the Ohi and Takahama Plants to lose power, stopping the plant cooling systems and releasing nuclear substances.
The 2 plants are located 13 kilometers from each other.
Central and local government officials ran the drill from the Ohi plant's offsite center where functions were centralized to smoothly evacuate people in the 2 locations.
About 21,000 people were slated to take part, including members of relevant organizations and local residents.
Workers are conducting a separate drill at the Ohi plant to contain the accident.
Employees of plant operator Kansai Electric Power Company confirmed procedures to set up large-capacity pumps to draw up sea water to cool the containment vessels.
Two reactors at the Takahama plant restarted in 2016, and 2 at the Ohi plant restarted this year, making Fukui the only prefecture to have multiple active nuclear power plants.
The central and prefectural governments intend to use the drill to test the effectiveness of their evacuation plans.