Disaster management training begins at Japan n-plant

Tokyo, Nov 8 (IANS) The Japanese government on Sunday started a two-day comprehensive disaster drill at a nuclear power plant in Ehime prefecture.

The drill at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant assumed that its reactor-cooling functions were lost because of damage to its power sources from an earthquake measuring upper 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 and radioactive materials leaked outside the plant as a result, the Japan Times reported.

While the No.3 reactor at the plant is likely to be reactivated sometime at the beginning of 2016 at the earliest, securing evacuation routes is important.

This is the third disaster drill to be conducted by the government at one of the nation’s nuclear plants since the triple reactor meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No.1 nuclear power station was crippled by a magnitude-9 earthquake and subsequent huge tsunami that struck part of the Tohoku region in March 2011.

The two-day drill is being participated in by officials of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), the Cabinet Office and the defence ministry, as well as about 13,000 residents living near the plant, including elementary and junior high school students.

As a part of the drill, residents will be evacuated by bus.

On Monday, a ferry and a support ship of the Maritime Salf-Defence Force will be used to evacuate about 70 residents from the peninsula to nearby Oita prefecture.

In July this year, the NRA concluded that the Ikata No. 3 reactor meets the country’s new safety standards introduced in July 2013 following the Fukushima No. 1 plant accident.

Last month, local leaders gave their consent to the restart of the No. 3 unit.

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