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Large-scale evacuation drill held around Takahama nuclear plant

Local residents wearing masks walk toward a bus during an evacuation drill held in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, on Aug. 27, 2016, simulating the aftermath of an accident at the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant. (Mainichi)

TAKAHAMA, Fukui -- Residents living within 30 kilometers of Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Takahama Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture participated in a large-scale drill to evacuate to other prefectures on Aug. 27.

The drill was held based on a wide-area evacuation plan adopted at a meeting of the central government's nuclear disaster prevention conference in December last year. In addition to about 7,000 residents of Fukui and Kyoto prefectures living within 30 kilometers of the plant, 2,000 other people including those in evacuation destination local governments such as Shiga and Hyogo prefectures also joined the drill. Some 150 entities including the Union of Kansai Governments and the central government participated.

About 240 residents of Fukui Prefecture evacuated to Hyogo Prefecture by bus and other means -- the largest number of evacuees sent to other prefectures in a nuclear disaster drill to date.

The drill was held on the assumption that an earthquake measuring a lower 6 or higher on the Japanese seismic intensity scale occurred in waters off the Wakasa Bay at around 6 a.m., causing all AC power at the Takahama plant to shut down.

Residents within the 5-kilometer precautionary action zone started leaving their homes for Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, and other destinations before "radioactive materials" leaked from the power plant. Those within the 5-30 km urgent protective action planning zone took temporary refuge inside buildings until the passage of the radioactive plume and started evacuating from their homes and hospitals by bus and car. They received iodine tablets and had their radiation doses checked before heading for Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture, and other destinations, traveling as long as 130 kilometers.

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