Bizarre Nuclear Evacuation Drill Held In Kyushu Japan

A drill was held that included three prefectures near the Genkai nuclear plant. The drill included a scenario where the plant had a power loss and coolant water leak. The NHK report didn’t specify to what extent the actual damage to the plant was considered to be for this drill. The scenario from the description sounds nothing like the extent seen at the Fukushima disaster in 2011 where large amounts of infrastructure were wiped out and meltdowns began within hours.

The actual evacuation portion of the drill was only for those within 30km from the plant. The nearby town of Imari had only 170 people participate in the evacuation drill. The town has 21,964 residents. Officials practiced checking cars for radiation but the small fraction of people actually participating in the evacuation drill would be nowhere near the chaos of having everyone evacuate in a real disaster.

At least one participant saw through the nonsense:
He also said that in the event of a real accident, there would most probably be a massive traffic jam as people would try to evacuate in their own cars, rather than in buses as were used in Saturday’s drill.”

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When it came to nearby Madarashima Island, things were a bit more strange. Residents of the island were asked to sit in tents inside a school. Part of the evacuation drill considered what to do if seas were too difficult to evacuate by boat. The solution was to have residents stay in a school 9km from the plant in tents inside the school. The tents are assumed to be able to prevent “nuclear material” from entering but would have no shielding from gamma radiation. There are a number of reasons this may not be a well thought out idea. Including the need of people to enter and exit the tents, issues of heat or cold if the school lacks power. This could also make the timing of an eventual rescue at a time when radiation levels are even worse than before. There also seemed to be no provision for bathroom facilities or eating if they were stuck on the island for days. We did find a company that makes something that may be close to the tents described, details on those can be found here.

Madarashima is among a grouping of islands that would all pose a challenge to swiftly evacuate yet would all be at potential risk in a nuclear disaster. One town in the grouping of islands has 2924 people. Evacuating the populations of these islands in a nuclear disaster could be extremely complicated.

An outcome of this drill was not published, unlike earlier drills that admitted their serious failures.

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