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» Poor evacuation procedures is additional hurdle in securing nuclear safety

Keen to restart nuclear power plants three years after the Fukushima disaster, authorities may face an additional hurdle in securing approval — coming up with a cogent evacuation plan in the event of new accidents.

The problem has come into focus as procedures for the first proposed restart enter the home stretch in Ichikikushikino, a town 5 kilometers from Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant.

Local authorities approve restarts, but Ichikikushikino, as it is only a neighboring town, does not get any final say in the matter. That didn’t stop more than half its 30,000 residents from signing a petition opposing it.

“The (evacuation) plan itself is very sloppy, just slotting bits and pieces into a manual without giving any consideration to the special features of the area,” said Zenyu Niga, a Buddhist monk whose mountainside temple overlooks the Sendai plant.

Residents say a narrow road designated as an evacuation route regularly floods at high tide. A day care center has no evacuation plan at all. One evacuation center is a run-down building with limited space.

Niga, who was attending a public meeting where officials explained evacuation plans, said he feared the region, served by three congested highways, could face panic in an evacuation.

“I feel very worried after seeing what happened in Fukushima,” he said.
<Media Report>
Evacuation plans stir fresh doubts over Japan nuclear restarts (Japan Times)

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