National

Mito and Chiba cities sign nuclear accident evacuation accord

Kyodo

The municipal government of Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture —located near a nuclear power plant — signed an accord Wednesday that will allow its residents to take shelter in six municipalities further away from the complex in the case of an accident.

The arrangement aims to facilitate the evacuation of about 43,000 of around 270,000 residents from Mito, which is located within 30 kilometers from the Tokai No. 2 plant in the village of Tokai, to Kashiwa and five other cities in Chiba Prefecture.

Under the accord, the six cities in Chiba are to set up shelters to be managed by the Mito Municipal Government. The maximum evacuation period will be one month in principle and Ibaraki Prefecture and Mito will be in charge of securing necessary supplies.

Screening for radioactive materials and decontamination work will be carried out by the Ibaraki Prefectural Government.

The nuclear plant located northeast of Tokyo is operated by Japan Atomic Power Co. In September, it cleared a safety screening to resume operations under stricter rules introduced after the March 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The conclusion of the evacuation accord met with opposition from civic groups in the six cities. Those opposed to the partnership agreement see it as part of the effort to restart the aging plant.

The city of Mito has concluded similar accords with municipalities in Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures to evacuate around 180,000 people. It is arranging an agreement to have the remaining 40,000 residents evacuate to Saitama Prefecture.

Eight other municipalities within a 30-km radius of the Tokai No. 2 plant have also signed evacuation accords with local authorities in nearby prefectures.