Fukui to review mudslide dangers in wake of Hiroshima disaster

by Eric Johnston

Staff Writer

Following this week’s devastating mudslides in Hiroshima, Fukui Prefecture has announced it will conduct a survey next month on the potential danger of mudslides and avalanches on the Tsuruga Peninsula, where five nuclear reactors are located.

There are 11,660 locations in Fukui Prefecture that have been officially designated as mudslide-prone zones. Of these, about 9,500 are classified as especially vulnerable and development is restricted.

Torrential rain in Hiroshima and across the Chugoku region into Kansai have raised havoc, creating concerns elsewhere about mudslide risks and whether rescue personnel and emergency vehicles can reach stricken areas quickly.

The Tsuruga Peninsula is home to five commercial reactors, including Kansai Electric Power Co.’s three units in the town of Mihama and Japan Atomic Power Co.’s No. 1 and 2 reactors in Tsuruga. The experimental Monju fast-breeder reactor is also there.

Experts in Fukui will investigate the likelihood of mudslides and avalanches occurring on the peninsula during heavy rain, with the aim of identifying potentially dangerous areas.

While surveys on areas vulnerable to flooding and mudslides across the prefecture are conducted regularly, the Hiroshima mudslide, combined with the damage from a typhoon that hit the southern part of Fukui last September, has prompted a more thorough review, the prefectural government officials said.