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Gov't conducts evacuation drill for multiple nuclear accidents

FUKUI, Japan (Kyodo) -- The government started Saturday a two-day evacuation drill in the central Japan prefecture of Fukui, which hosts the highest concentration of nuclear plants in the country.

Some 21,600 people will take part in the drill, including residents within 30 kilometers of two neighboring nuclear plants which sit only 14 km apart.

The drill is aimed at simultaneously testing already established evacuation plans for residents around Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi and Takahama plants under the scenario that both facilities lose power to cool reactors due to a powerful quake.

It is the largest drill of its kind to be staged in the country and the first simulating simultaneous accidents at plants located close by since the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Of the Oi plant's four reactors, Nos. 3 and 4 came online earlier this year. At the Takahama complex, Nos. 3 and 4 reactors have been temporarily halted this year for regular inspection.

Fukui hosts two other nuclear power plants.

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