Hyogo blocks release of nuke crisis study data

by Eric Johnston

Staff Writer

Hyogo officials are blocking the release of data from a simulation run last year predicting what would happen to surrounding prefectures in the event of a meltdown crisis at one of Fukui Prefecture’s four atomic plants.

Citizens’ groups said Tuesday they were told by Hyogo officials earlier this month that the data would be released before May along with data from a new simulation the prefecture is conducting.

The backtrack on the data release has raised concerns that the prefecture is trying to downplay the possibility of a worst-case scenario for disaster planning purposes.

Hyogo officials weren’t immediately available for comment.

Last year, Hyogo Prefecture did a study of the effects of a meltdown disaster at Fukui’s four nuclear power plants, in Takahama, Oi, Mihama and Tsuruga, that plotted the possible directions of radiation plumes in the event of a Fukushima-like calamity.

The results showed that, depending on wind direction and weather, the city of Sasayama could receive a maximum radiation dosage of 167 millisieverts over a seven-day period, which is especially risky for children and more than three times higher than the International Atomic Energy Agency’s standard for dispensing iodine tablets.

In the worst-case scenario, Kobe could receive a maximum radiation dose of 62 millisieverts over a week, while other Hyogo towns could see levels of between 50 and 100 millisieverts, also over a one-week period.

While Hyogo released the results of what could happen inside the prefecture, it did not make public what might happen in neighboring prefectures. Concerned this would make it more difficult for localities to draw up emergency plans and for a coordinated, Kansai-wide response, anti-nuclear activists and other citizens pressed Hyogo to release the entire study.

Hyogo Prefecture resident Juro Yamamoto filed a freedom of information request in February for the release of all simulation data on Fukui, Kyoto and Shiga prefectures. The request was granted, in writing, by Hyogo Gov. Toshizo Ido’s office on March 7.

However, the information has yet to be made public. Yamamoto called on prefectural officials Tuesday to release it immediately.

“When I spoke to prefectural officials in charge of disaster planning, I was told that the data couldn’t be released right away and to wait. Then, on Thursday, I was told that the data would be released along with new simulation results. The information is supposed to be released within 15 days of the approval, but not to release it after that is a violation of the freedom of information ordinance,” he said in an official appeal to the governor Tuesday.