Efforts to estimate the time needed to evacuate residents living within 30 km of a nuclear power plant in an emergency are behind schedule in half of the prefectures concerned, a Kyodo News survey shows.

Local governments within 30 km of a nuclear power plant are supposed to estimate the time needed for residents to get to safe locations when an evacuation is ordered, and to use those estimates to pinpoint road crossings where congestion is likely in order to coordinate evacuation routes.

But the effort is behind schedule in 11 of the 21 prefectures affected, the survey found. The state-led effort was supposed to be completed by March last year, but it has taken more time than expected to obtain the data needed to carry out the estimations, officials said.

In five of the 11 prefectures — Fukui, Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki and Kagoshima — there are communities within 30 km of at least one nuclear plant that is awaiting permission to restart.

The other six prefectures are Aomori, Fukushima, Niigata, Shizuoka, Tottori and Shimane.