Niigata Fails 2nd Nuclear Disaster Drill

The first nuclear disaster drill in Niigata in 2013 resulted in a considerable failure. This year another supposedly easier drill also failed.

The 2013 drill involved a large number of volunteers to evacuate the area near the plant by bus. This ended up taking evacuees not to safety but right into the path of the simulated radiation plume. For 2014 the ran a severely handicapped drill. They skipped having an evacuation and declared the radiation release would be low for the drill.

Based upon existing guidelines, the officials said people living within a 5- to 30-kilometer radius should stay indoors, as radiation levels were low.”

So the drill itself was largely for show rather than an effort to truly challenge the system. Yet there were still problems.

Part of the drill involved administering protective iodine tablets to the public. TEPCO announced when they assumed radiation would begin leaking. The governor ordered protective iodine to be administered to the public. The central government insisted that iodine only be given out after a leak had already left the plant and only to people in the plume path. The previous year’s drill showed how unpredictable the plume path can be as the simulated plume changed directions when the weather shifted wind direction. The drill itself finished without the two government entities ever coming to an agreement on iodine distribution. This is the same problem that happened during the Fukushima disaster where there was confusion and conflicting demands leading to most people never getting protective iodine.

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