Accident drills held in Kagoshima for Sendai nuclear plant


Kagoshima Prefecture and several municipalities conducted nuclear disaster response drills Sunday, practicing for a severe accident at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai power plant.

A total of 3,600 people, including about 1,200 local residents and officials from some 150 organizations such as the Self-Defense Forces and the Nuclear Regulation Authority, participated in the first disaster drills since the restart of the facility’s two reactors in August.

The drills covered a scenario in which the reactors at the plant in Satsumasendai had been hit by an offshore earthquake measuring upper 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 and lost all their external power supplies, and that radioactive substances were escaping from the No. 2 unit.

Residents in areas within 5 km of the plant were evacuated by bus and by SDF helicopters in the morning. People living within the 30-km radius were evacuated in the afternoon.

Authorities checked radiation levels of residents and gave them iodine tablets to alleviate any adverse effects of radiation exposure.

The prefectural government tested a system to assign evacuation centers to residents in areas between 5 and 30 km from the plant and those staying in hospitals and welfare facilities from 10 to 30 km away.

Meanwhile, voice transmission was interrupted during a teleconference linking the response headquarters, the prefectural government and nine municipal governments located within 30 km of the plant.

After the drills, Kagoshima Gov. Yuichiro Ito released a statement that the results of the exercise, including mistakes, will help the prefecture review regional disaster plans and enhance its efforts to prevent a nuclear crisis.

  • Richard Solomon

    It is heartening that the drills included evacuating people within a 30 km radius of the plant. It should be noted that US experts recommended a larger evacuation area than that in March 2011 when the Triple Disaster struck Fukushima.

    What ‘mistakes’ took place? It’ll be important to see how smoothly the evacuation proceeded. Also, were ALL residents within that 30 km evacuated? Could the roads handle that much traffic?