A research project conducted by a research institute on environmental economics in Japan named Kankyo Keizai Kenkyujo has found that in the case of a severe accident at a nuclear power plant it will take at least 12 hours to evacuate everyone within 30 kilometers of the facility.
The study focused on municipalities in Japan within 30 kilometers of a nuclear power facility which are mandated to prepare emergency evacuation plans to meet the central government’s guidelines for responses to nuclear accidents.
The study found that in some cases, where natural disasters reduce evacuation routes to national highways, evacuations in areas around some nuclear power plants, like the Tokai nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, may take five and a half days.
The 740,000 citizens who live in the evacuation area around the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture would require at least six days to complete evacuations. Residents in this area would likely be slowed by heavy traffic jams due to the limited number of roads available. The study found the evacuation conditions would be similar for residents around the Shimane nuclear power plant in Shimane Prefecture.
Residents within the 30 kilometer evacuation area around the Tomari nuclear power plant in Hokkaido Prefecture would require at least 15 hours to evacuate, if routes were reduced to national highways.
The study confirms the fact that in the case of a severe accident which releases radioactive materials into the environment, it is impossible to evacuate all of the citizens before radiation exposures occur.
The study will be presented at a seminar hosted by the Association for the Research of Transportation Problems and Human Rights on January 25th.
Naomi Kamioka, vice chairman of the Association and head of the research institute said, “Although activities aimed at restarting nuclear reactors are shifting into high gear, road conditions around the nuclear power plants have not been drastically improved even after the Fukushima nuclear accident.”