The Nuclear Regulation Authority estimates it would take up to 16 hours for the 180,000 people living within 30 km of the Takahama nuclear complex in Fukui Prefecture to evacuate if disaster struck, sources said Wednesday.

The estimate is 4 hours and 50 minutes longer the figure calculated by the Fukui Prefectural Government, which covered only 90 percent of residents of Fukui and Kyoto prefectures living within 30 km of the plant and did not take into account the time required to conduct checks for radiation contamination.

Like the prefectural government, the evacuation times estimated by other municipalities located within 30 km of nuclear power plants tend to be short. The NRA's estimates of evacuation times suggested local governments have underestimated the difficulties of evacuation during a nuclear disaster.