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Up to 29 hours to evacuate around Sendai plant

May 30, 2014

Evacuation of 30-km radius of Sendai plant to take up to 29 hours



KAGOSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- The Kagoshima prefectural government said Thursday it estimates it would take about 29 hours for most of the people living within 30 kilometers of the Sendai nuclear power plant to evacuate by car in case of a serious nuclear accident.

The estimate was released at a time when Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Sendai complex is considered to be the closest to being allowed to restart among all of Japan's commercial nuclear power plants now shut down for safety checks.

The prefectural government said the projection is basically in line with a target stipulated in Japan's new nuclear-disaster mitigation guidelines compiled after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which state that residents are to flee to areas outside the 30-km zone within 24 hours after an evacuation order is issued.

The estimate was based on an assumption that authorities tried first to focus on evacuating about 5,000 residents living within the 5-km area, but about 40 percent of people living in the 5-30 km zone started to flee from their homes at their own initiative.

Of a total 13 scenarios considered, the prefectural government found the evacuation of 90 percent of about 210,000 residents within the 30-km area would take the longest time when they cannot use the Minami-Kyushu expressway. The time needed was 28 hours and 45 minutes.

If traffic is guided at traffic-jam points at main roads, the evacuation time would be the shortest at nine hours and 45 minutes.

The prefectural government, however, did not assume cases in which all the people within the 30-km zone panic and start to evacuate without an order.

Japan has revised its nuclear-disaster mitigation guidelines in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, expanding areas that need special preparations to a 30-km radius of a plant from the previous 10 km.

May 30, 2014(Mainichi Japan)



May 29, 2014

Evacuation times estimated for nuclear plant




Japan's southwestern prefecture hosting a nuclear power station has released evacuation estimates for residents in case of a nuclear accident at the plant.

The Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture is currently offline and undergoing government safety screening as a key step toward resuming operations.

Prefectural officials used computer modeling to calculate how long it would take for about 210,000 people living within 30 kilometers of the plant to evacuate by car.

The officials forecast evacuation times for 90 percent of the residents to travel outside the 30 kilometer radius from the plant.

The various simulations include the status of main roads, the number of evacuees in each car, and weather conditions. The results indicate that the smoothest evacuation will take 9 hours 15 minutes. That's if each car carries 4 people and traffic is guided at crowded intersections.

In contrast, the least smooth evacuation will take 28 hours 45 minutes. This scenario has each car carrying only 2 people and the nearby expressway is impassable.

Kagoshima officials say state guidelines dictate that it should not take more than 24 hours to evacuate people from areas predicted to experience a certain level of radiation.

They say the simulations show that most of the residents in such zones will be able to evacuate within the target time.

However, an expert says the evacuations could take longer than the simulations suggest. This is because there are additional challenges involved, such as how to move those in need of assistance.

May 29, 2014 - Updated 21:46 UTC


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