TOKYO (majirox news) — The working group devising revisions to the government’s nuclear power disaster prevention guidelines decided Aug. 26 to recommend creating precautionary action zones (PAZ) around nuclear power plants to evacuate residents immediately in the event of major accidents.
The Nuclear Safety Commission working group wants to decide on the specific ranges of PAZ by around October, but is believed to favor areas with a radius of 3-to 5-kilometers (1.75-to 3-miles) around plants; a figure stipulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Disaster plans formulated by local governments in which nuclear power plants are located will be expected to be reviewed to incorporate PAZ.
Under existing plans, governments established emergency planning zones of a radius 8-to 10-kilometers around areas where radiation is expected to disperse. If the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI), which detects radiation dispersal, forecasts radiation will spread, governments then establish evacuation zones. Setting up PAZ will mean governments order evacuations of these zones almost simultaneously with occurrence of nuclear accidents.