Wednesday, April 20, 2011

#Fukushima 20-Kilo Radius Evacuation Zone to Become No-Entry Zone at Midnight on April 22

Kyodo News English (4/21/2011) reports:

The government has decided to prohibit people from entering areas within a 20-kilometer radius of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, starting midnight Thursday, government sources said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan will announce the decision to designate the zone, already covered by an evacuation directive following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, as an off-limits area when he visits Fukushima Prefecture on Thursday, the sources said.

The government has already started conveying the decision to municipalities concerned, including Minamisoma and Futaba, they said.

(Full article by paid subscription)

It's not Thursday but Friday, but that's what Kyodo English wrote.

To clarify, as of 12:00AM on Friday April 22, the residents of the 20-kilometer radius "evacuation zone" won't be allowed to enter the zone from outside. Kyodo News Japanese says Prime Minister Kan will go to Fukushima on Thursday April 21 to explain the decision to the affected municipalities within the zone.

There are people who never left the area despite the order to evacuate, and more and more people have returned since. After the government formally declares the area as "warning zone" (i.e. no-entry zone), the residents could be punished for remaining in their homes or forcibly removed.

So, what was all that talk about how safe it was within the 20-kilometer radius? Professor Yamashita of Nagasaki University and the designated health advisor to Fukushima Prefecture, would you please kindly explain? The government is way overreacting, right?


Anonymous said...

I saw a 10 minute news blurb on NHK World that showed how access is still highly controlled in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. They also covered the Ukrainian government asking for a billion dollars to build a spiffy new Sarcophagus but they pointed out that there is still no accepted plan for dismantling the old one.

And then there is always this:

"Risks from Severe Space Weather on Nuclear Power

In a previous Denial of Petition for Rulemaking (PRM-50-67), NRC recognized North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) as the nation's authority on reliability of the electric power grid. At the time of the denial, NRC referenced data from NERC to argue that long-term on-site backup power for nuclear power plants was not necessary. In recent years, the authority of NERC on electric reliability has been further codified in law. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, has certified NERC as the nation’s Electric Reliability Organization and charged it with developing procedures for the establishment, approval and enforcement of mandatory electric reliability standards.

In a June 2010 report titled, "High-Impact, Low-Frequency Event Risk to the North American Bulk Power System," jointly sponsored by NERC and the Department of Energy, NERC now concedes that the North American power grids have significant reliability issues in regard to High-Impact, Low-Frequency (HILF) events such as severe space weather. The NERC HILF report explains commercial grid vulnerability to space weather:

Intense solar activity, particularly large solar flares and associated coronal mass ejections can create disturbances in the near-Earth space environment when this activity is directed towards the Earth. The coronal mass ejection’s solar wind plasma can then connect with the magnetosphere causing rapid changes in the configuration of Earth's magnetic field, a form of space weather called a geomagnetic storm. Geomagnetic storms produce impulsive disturbance of the geomagnetic field over wide geographic regions which, in turn, induce currents (called geomagnetically-induced currents or GIC) in the complex topology of the North American bulk power system and other high-voltage power systems across the globe. For many years it has been known that these storms have the potential to pose operational threats to bulk power systems; both contemporary experience and analytical work support these general conclusions. The electric sector has taken some meaningful steps to mitigate this risk as outlined in the January 2009 Report by National Academy of Sciences ―Severe Space Weather Events— Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts Workshop Report,‖ but more work is needed.

More recently, a number of investigations have been carried out under the auspices of the EMP Commission and also for FEMA under Executive Order 13407 and FERC in partnership with the Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, and Defense. These investigations have been undertaken to examine the potential impacts on the U.S. electric power grid for severe geomagnetic storm events and EMP threats. In addition, this analysis was formative in the National Academy of Sciences ―Severe Space Weather Events"

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