Japan Nuclear Evacuation Plans Expose Absurdity Of Restarting Reactors

Part of the plan in Japan to attempt to restart reactors including trying to establish evacuation plans based on what was learned from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. The reality of the cost and difficulty of doing so is coming crashing down around the government plan to restart reactors.

Minamata City, near the Sendai nuclear plant can not deal with what is being expected of them should an evacuation be required. The city, about 40km from Sendai nuclear plant is being asked to have 28 facilities with enough hot water, supplies, staff and decontamination facilities at the ready. With no funding from the national government and not qualifying for local subsidy the city is unable to fund the rather costly plan. Minamata City also would not receive any nuclear subsidy from the power company as they are far enough away from the plant to not be considered a host city.

Only about 13% of the cities expected to accept evacuees in the event of a nuclear disaster currently have a plan in place. 179 of these cities responded to Mainichi Shimbun that they have not developed plans and are not working on one. One city said that accepting the number of evacuees being ask by the central government would require accepting so many evacuees that it would equal 43% of their current population.

Most of the cities near the nuclear plants hoped to restart have plans for evacuating residents. These plans were proven extremely flawed in the couple of drills conducted. The cities that are supposed to accept fleeing evacuees either won’t or can’t accomplish what is needed to accept all those fleeing people. Many cities cite the lack of funding for this large and expensive task as the reason they are not completing the plans.

Restarting reactors or continuing nuclear power in Japan has been largely unpopular. The national government has continued to push restart plans as they struggle to find a way out of the old nuclear program that required them to reprocess massive amounts of nuclear fuel. Backing out of nuclear power also holds the potential for widespread financial failure of the power companies that heavily invested in nuclear instead of diversified power sources. Instead of planning a sane way out while minimizing the damage, the central government has been pushing a plan not based in reality. The resistance and inability of the rest of the country to hold up their end of this fantasy is another very clear point of the impracticality of Japan’s nuclear program.


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