On October 20, 2011, Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission has proposed an expansion of the recommended emergency planning zones (EPZ) around nuclear plants from 10 km to 30 km , as well as a proposed 50 km radius called a Plume Protection Planning Area (PPA) in which residents must stay indoors and towns must be prepared to distribute iodine tablets in an emergency situation.
The newly proposed 30 km Urgent Protective Action Planning Zone (UPZ) has increased the number of targeted cities and towns from 44 to 130 and the number of residents living in the expanded area is 7.93 million, or 6% of Japan’s population. It would also include parts of prefectural capitals such as Shizuoka, Mito, Fukui, Kyoto and Kagoshima. There has been criticism that, similar to what has been observed in Fukushima, the radiation does not travel in concentric circles and may spread to towns that fall just outside of the UPZ.
Shizuoka Prefecture created a special research group to investigate disaster-preparedness measures for the area surrounding the controversial Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in Omaezaki City.
Part of Shizuoka City falls within the 50 km PPA. The city complained that the current proposed measures only account for the movement of radiation but there are no measures for the affects once the radiation has settled in areas.
The town of Minami Izu at the bottom of the Izu Peninsula does not fall in the 50km PPA, but wind patterns could make a scenario where radiation could be blown over the town. The town has asked to be included in the PPA. Minami Izu borders the popular vacation-home area of Shimoda.
In December, the prefecture will hold a meeting which will provide a chance for the towns and cities to present their opinions.
“30-km anti-disaster zone proposed for nuclear accidents” The Asahi Shimbun, October 21, 2011.
The Daily Yomiuri, November 17, 2011.