The Nuclear Regulation Authority has released new guidelines aimed towards disaster mitigation measures. The new guidelines expand emergency areas to 30km from the atomic power plant, where special preparations will take place.
NRA’s predecessor was heavily criticized for their way of handling the Fukushima crisis but more steps have been taken to ensure the guidelines usefulness. The guidelines have been rewritten so it can be easily understood internationally. Also, local governments hosting nuclear plants are expected to craft their own disaster mitigation plans and set the scope of the emergency zones by March, according to the guide. It should be constantly reviewed and according to NRA Commissioner Kayoko Nakamura, the guide will become more useful as more plans are created and drills are performed. The most notable change has been the increase from 10km to 30km radius expansion of emergency zones. This expansion has a slight setback as the number of affected prefectures has increased from 15 to 21, leading to a total of 4.8 million people who could be affected by the nuclear plant radiation levels. Still ironing out the details, another NRA commissioner, Toyoshi Fuketa, stresses that holding substantial discussions on the issue is “extremely important to make the guidelines workable.”
The NRA has done well in listing criteria for starting evacuations and enabling others to move quickly but have yet to go into specific detail. Another issue being studied is whether to distribute iodine tablets in advance in order to prevent residents from developing thyroid cancer.