Evacuation drill in Japan has residents flee in same direction as radiation carried by the wind

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Radiation Checks in Japan

After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, there has been concern in Japan and around the world about the effectiveness of emergency evacuation guidelines around nuclear power plants.  Japan was forced had to rethink its nuclear safety standard in the wake of the nuclear disaster; the new evacuation standard is set at 30 kilometers around nuclear power facilities instead of 8 to 10 kilometers, but local governments have been unable to adequately revise these guidelines to realistically perform in test scenarios – let alone a full-blown emergency situation, in such a short amount of time.

Last June, the Fukui prefecture introduced its provisional evacuation plant in order to restart the two Oi reactors.  The proposed plan was so inadequate that it drew criticism from prefecture residents and neighboring prefectures alike.

In October of 2012, the newly-formed Nuclear Regulation Authority was forced to apologize after releasing misleading data non prediction nuclear fallouts based on simulated disasters at six nuclear power plants.  It would be determined after publication, that in each of the six predictions, the published data was wrong.  The new simulations also showed that in some scenarios the 30-kilometer evacuation zone radius radiation limits could be exceeded, and radiation levels could exceed guidelines over 40 kilometers away.  “We apologize for any confusion caused to local governments by the erroneous data,” the agency said in a statement.

On Sunday, the city of Nagaoka in Japan held a nuclear disaster drill which incorporated data on wind direction to avoid the radiation escaping the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.

When city officials studied the forecasts, they predicted the winds would blow to the southeast.  Based on these predictions, they ordered residents to evacuate to one of the 3 evacuation centers, which was not downwind.  However, while residents were en route to the evacuation center, the winds shifted direction and were blowing northward, the same direction the evacuees were escaping to.

Yoichi Kojima, a city official in charge of nuclear safety, admitted that he hoped to better determine escape routes in the future while gauging the wind direction.

Source: NHK

Source: The Japan Times

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