• Kyodo

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Nuclear disaster drills were held Thursday by Shimane and Ehime municipalities to evaluate their responses in the event of an accident at the atomic power plants based in the two prefectures.

The Shimane Prefectural Government and six cities conducted a joint drill focusing on Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s local nuclear plant, and the government of neighboring Tottori Prefecture also participated.

Ehime Prefecture and eight of its municipalities held a similar drill involving Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata power station.

The drills were designed for Shimane and Tottori officials to run through the sequence of meetings they would hold and the flow of information released as a crisis evolves.

Most of the municipalities that participated are located within 30 km of the two power stations. The central government plans to designate this distance for exclusion zones around nuclear plants in the event of accidents.

But for the first time, local governments other than those hosting the plants participated in the drills. The drills were based on a scenario in which the central government orders local authorities to evacuate residents amid a serious accident that has knocked out power.

In the Ehime drill, about 500 residents also took part in a mock evacuation involving Self-Defense Forces helicopters and emergency screening for radioactive materials.

Residents in the government’s envisioned 30-km Urgent Protective Action Planning Zone around nuclear plants would be asked to prepare to evacuate.

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