15 Novembre 2016
November 13, 2016
Japan's government is holding its first drill to evacuate people living near a nuclear power plant that has been hit by a tsunami.
The 2-day exercise began on Sunday in communities near the Tomari plant in Hokkaido. It has been offline pending a government screening for a restart.
The drill was based on the scenario that the reactors had lost their cooling functions after a powerful quake and a tsunami had cut off nearby roads.
A mock warning for a major tsunami was relayed through a public address system in Tomari Village.
Residents gathered at an elementary school as evacuees and village officials explained to them that they would be transported by bus to the regional capital of Sapporo, 60 kilometers away.
In neighboring Kyowa Town, workers used heavy machinery to remove driftwood that had blocked the roads.
Inside the plant compound, paramedics in protective gear covered the interior of an ambulance to prevent contamination by radioactive materials.
Firefighters used a water cannon to stop the spread of radioactive substances. Nuclear plants have been required to have water cannons since the Fukushima accident.
Officials from the Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority and local municipalities gathered at the off-site center about 10 kilometers from the plant.
The State Minister of the Cabinet Office, Tadahiko Ito, who's in charge of nuclear disaster prevention, arrived at the center 90 minutes late because bad weather had prevented him from using a helicopter. The officials at the center had a video conference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. He declared an emergency and told the officials to evacuate people within a 5-kilometer radius of the plant.
A drill for evacuating residents by bus and another to help foreign tourists will take place on Monday.
Another exercise is scheduled early next year to prepare for a possible accident at the Tomari plant during a snowstorm.
Drill staged for tsunami, nuclear accident
A nuclear evacuation drill has begun in communities near an offline nuclear power plant in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. It is the nation's first such exercise that involves central government officials and an evacuation from tsunami.
The 2-day drill started on Sunday morning, with nearly 14,000 people taking part. Officials from more than 400 organizations, including the central and local governments, are also involved.
The drill started out based on a scenario that there had been an earthquake with an intensity of 6 plus on the Japanese seismic scale of zero to 7.
The scenario also assumed that the cooling system for reactors at the Tomari power plant was no longer operating, and that a tsunami had cut off roads around the plant.
A warning of a major tsunami was broadcast in the village of Tomari, which hosts the plant. That prompted residents to evacuate by foot to an elementary school on high ground.
Village officials told them they would be bused to Sapporo, more than 60 kilometers away, due to the situation at the plant.
In the afternoon, prefectural officials will practice removing debris left by the tsunami to make roads passable.
The Tomari plant is undergoing safety screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority for possible restart of its reactors.