National

Evacuation plan compiled for residents around Takahama nuclear plant

Kyodo

The Cabinet Office and three western prefectures finalized an evacuation plan Wednesday for residents living within 30 kilometers of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s idled Takahama nuclear plant.

The proposal is expected to be approved on Friday by the Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Commission that is chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It is the first evacuation plan covering neighboring prefectures and covers 180,000 people living within the defined area.

The No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture have cleared new safety regulations set after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and are ready to restart operations. But a court injunction in April banned Kansai Electric from bringing them back online.

The Fukui District Court will make a decision next week on the objection filed by the utility over the injunction.

Industry minister Motoo Hayashi, who is in charge of the country’s energy policy, is expected to meet Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa on Sunday. The governor has yet to announce his decision on the restart approval for the Takahama plant.

Most reactors remain offline in Japan. The government wants nuclear power generation to supply at least 20 percent of Japan’s overall electricity by 2030.

The meeting between the Cabinet Office and Fukui, Kyoto and Shiga prefectures was held in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Officials from the three prefectures “confirmed the plan is reasonable,” Okinobu Hirai, director general of the Cabinet Office, said.

The plan designates evacuation routes and facilities to be used as shelters as well as what measures will be taken for people who cannot escape over land. The Takahama plant, about 380 km west of Tokyo, is located at the base of the Otomi Peninsula.