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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 May 7 - 13  > It will take 6 days to evacuate all residents in 30km-zone during nuclear crisis
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2014 May 7 - 13 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

It will take 6 days to evacuate all residents in 30km-zone during nuclear crisis

May 12, 2014
A research institute on environmental economics, Kankyo Keizai Kenkyujo, has recently released calculation results showing that it will take up to 142.5 hours to evacuate all residents living within a 30km-zone from a nuclear power plant in the event of a severe nuclear accident.

In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, the government extended evacuation areas from 8-10km to a 30km-zone from nuclear energy facilities. Representative of the institute Kamioka Naomi, however, takes a skeptical view of the feasibility of each municipality’s evacuation plan.

Judging from power companies’ analyses, he predicts that a meltdown would occur roughly within 20 minutes in the worst case scenario, creating holes in the reactor pressure vessel in an hour and a half. Then, radioactive materials would start to leak outside.

Kamioka said, “Under the present evacuation guidelines, even evacuating the inhabitants within 5km-zones would be impossible before they are exposed to radiation.” In short, these people would inevitably be showered with radioactive substances.

Local governments should expect that many citizens will get out of the area without waiting for an evacuation directive because the Japanese people now know how dangerous a nuclear accident could be, the chief researcher points out.

Under many municipalities’ evacuation plans, anyone without a vehicle will have to escape by bus to be arranged by the local authorities.

Kamioka, however, asks what if too many vehicles move all at once, if some elderly persons cannot walk to designated meeting points, if residents have to wait outside until buses come, if local governments cannot charter buses for all the traveling-weak, and if they cannot secure enough bus drivers.

He also points to the possibility of a number of bridges being destroyed by an earthquake and of having no access to coastal roads because of subsequent tsunamis.

In fact, when the major quake and the resultant tsunamis occurred three years ago, almost all coastal roads were closed to traffic, causing serious traffic jams. In Namie Town in Fukushima, the townspeople received an evacuation order the day after the nuclear accident, but it took four days until the evacuation was completed.

The institute representative calls into question the very feasibility of evacuation plans themselves. He said, “I myself had never dreamt that a Fukushima-type accident would have happened. If the resumption of operations of currently-suspended reactors is necessary, feasible evacuation planning will be vital.” In other words, he said, “It is impermissible to resume their operations because a safe evacuation of all residents is virtually impossible.”

Past related articles:
> Fukui’s nuclear disaster evacuation plan full of holes [January 27, 2014]
> Nuclear accident may isolate residents on peninsula in Ikata [January 22, 2014]
> Majority of local gov’ts near restart-seeking NPPs have no evacuation plan [September 3, 2013]
> Hard to evacuate residents living within 30km-zone in nuclear accident [April 1, 2013]
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