The Nuclear Regulation Authority plans to expand disaster management zones as part of Japan’s nuclear response guidelines after the Fukushima nuclear crisis that has long sparked debates on the country’s nuclear industry.
According to The Nikkei, disaster management zones will cover a distance of up to 30km from nuclear power reactors. In cases of accidents, areas within 5km will be considered ‘immediate evacuation zones’ while areas up to 30km away will be designated as ‘probable evacuation zones’. The current zones only reach as far as 8-10km. The new established regulatory authority also urged emergency centers for disaster response set up by central and local governments be located further away. Under the new guidelines, idle reactors will only be restarted if local governments are well-prepared for accidents, as approved by the regulatory.
This comes as Japan attempted to pass a new energy strategy that would phase out nuclear power to be replaced by renewable energy. The policy shift was immediately met with opposition by Japan’s nuclear allies and businesses which rely heavily on nuclear power. Japan said it would “take the policy into consideration”.