Articles Comments

Finance GreenWatch » 8.Eathquake & Nuclear accident » Many local gov’ts near nuke plants miss anti-disaster planning deadline: survey

Many local gov’ts near nuke plants miss anti-disaster planning deadline: survey

Not only bowing but also preparing for

Not only bowing but also preparing for

Many local governments near nuclear power plants failed to complete nuclear disaster response plans by the central government-imposed March 18 deadline, according to a Mainichi survey.

The Mainichi queried 21 prefectures and 135 municipalities on the creation or revision of emergency measures for the 30-kilometer radius Urgent Protective Action Planning Zones (UPZ) around nuclear plants, and found that 13 prefectures and 59 municipalities had met the deadline. Nearly 20 local governments that failed to do so are expected to complete emergency planning by the end of March, and many others stated they expect to finish soon after.

Fifty-eight municipalities and 12 prefectures said they had secured evacuation facilities for UPZ residents. However, others with large populations — including Ibaraki Prefecture, where about 940,000 people live in the UPZ around the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant — said sufficient facilities won’t be secured for the foreseeable future — a fact that has some calling for the central government to intervene directly.

While evacuation plans are supposed to be part of local governments’ overall nuclear disaster countermeasures, only eight prefectures and 30 municipalities told the Mainichi they had completed both as of March 18. This is partly due to the number of local governments that already had disaster countermeasures of one kind or another ready, and are expected to revise them soon.

Regarding new and revised plans, other than the 13 prefectures stating they had met the March 18 deadline, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Yamaguchi and Saga prefectures stated they would complete their planning by the end of March. All affected municipalities in four prefectures had finished their planning. Eight affected municipalities in Ishikawa Prefecture said they would put the finishing touches on their countermeasures once plans were set on the prefectural level, while 11 municipalities in Shizuoka Prefecture said they would be finished soon.

In Ibaraki Prefecture, which still has no place to put the hundreds of thousands of people in the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant UPZ in the case of an accident, the prefectural nuclear safety division told the Mainichi, “We’d like to see the central government take regional conditions into account and come up with a more flexible plan.”

All the affected municipalities in Shizuoka Prefecture also stated they did not have evacuation facilities ready.

Among the prefectures that have completed countermeasure planning, Shimane Prefecture said neighboring Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures have agreed to accept disaster refugees if necessary.

Fukushima Prefecture, meanwhile, currently maintains evacuation facilities with a capacity of some 450,000 people, or the total populations of the 13 municipalities hit by the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) expanded Japan’s UPZ in October last year, from the previous 8-10 kilometer radius to the current 30. The change meant a significant increase in the number of municipalities covered by nuclear disaster countermeasures from the previous 15 prefectures and 45 municipalities, requiring new planning. Their efforts have been hampered, however, by the late release of new central government nuclear disaster guidelines.

The government, meanwhile, has decided to create legal requirements for disaster evacuation sites, including stocking supplies and setting up support facilities for evacuees, under revisions to the Basic Act on Disaster Control Measures.



Filed under: 8.Eathquake & Nuclear accident