SATSUMASENDAI, KAGOSHIMA PREF. – 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.