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Fukui Prefecture will conduct a nuclear disaster drill on Sunday that involves evacuating areas that lie within 30 km of a nuclear power plant.

Up to 2,000 residents will take part in the drill, which assumes an accident has occurred at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama No. 3 reactor and that radiation is leaking. The drill involves local officials and the Self-Defense Forces, who will help evacuate residents by helicopter and ship.

For the first time in Japan, prefectural officials said, two checkpoints will be set up along designated evacuation routes within a 30-km radius of the plant, where individuals and vehicles will be checked for radiation. Iodine tablets will also be dispensed to evacuees in the zone.

Sunday’s drill comes after the prefecture revised its emergency evacuation plan this month. In the event of a nuclear incident at Takahama, the nearly 11,000 residents closest to it will be sent to Hyogo Prefecture. Those in the prefecture’s other cities and towns will be sent to evacuation centers in Fukui.

About 55,000 people in four prefectural cities and towns live within a 30-km radius of Kepco’s Takahama plant, which has four reactors. Like the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant, two of the reactors are, or will soon be, 40 years old and their future is uncertain. The No. 3 reactor is about 30 years old.

Residents and officials from Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, parts of which are less than 5 km from Takahama, will also join Sunday’s drill. Maizuru, which has a population of about 85,500 and is home to a Maritime Self-Defense Force base, would likely play a critical role in any disaster that strikes Fukui’s nuclear power plants.

Unlike Tokyo, residents in Kansai’s major cities have long called for a regional disaster plan in the event of a nuclear accident.

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