The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has released revised guidelines regarding nuclear disaster evacuation measures.
Changes to the guidelines were minor, but include those calling for stricter evacuation rules. The revised guidelines were finalized after a two-week public comment period from Jan 30, during which 3,155 comments were received from members of the public.
TBS reported Thursday that the guidelines include a recommendation for the immediate evacuation of residents living near nuclear power plants if estimated radiation doses reach 500 microsieverts per hour. The new guidelines also state that evacuation must be completed within around one week if projected radiation doses rise to 20 microsieverts per hour.
However, the rules reportedly provoked condemnation from some members of the public for failing to represent the public’s wishes, for adopting high working dose levels and for failing to consider pregnant women and infants.
Under the NRA’s new guidelines, areas within 5 kilometers of nuclear power plants are to be designated precautionary action zones. Residents living within these zones will be required to evacuate immediately in the event of an incident, even without confirmation that radioactive materials have been released. The guidelines also recommend that iodine be distributed to residences within 5 km in advance of crises.
Areas from five kilometers to 30 kilometers from plants are to be classified Preventative Emergency Action Zones. In these areas evacuation procedures and other measures must be drawn up by local governments in advance. However, some comments received from members of the public reportedly expressed the view that zones should cover wider areas. The NRA responded that the guidelines do not ban preventative measures beyond the established zones.
The NRA stated that local governments will have until March 18 to draw up their own evacuation procedures based on the NRA’s latest guideline revision.