Fukushima fall-out – Wylfa emergency plans re-think

Wylfa’s emergency plans are being re-thought following the Fukushima disaster Anglesey Council confirmed (Aug 2013).

Incredibly, current plans only cover a tiny 1.6km area around the Wylfa nuclear plant, with the ‘possible’ evacuation or providing potassium iodate tablets ‘if necessary’ to those living within 4km of a radiation disaster.

170,000–200,000 people were evacuated from 30km area following the Fukushima disaster of March, 2011. A similar radius around Wylfa would mean the clearing of almost the entire Island of Anglesey.

The U.S. Embassy advised Americans in Japan to leave areas within “approximately 50 miles” (80 km) from the plant. A similar radius around Wylfa would mean the clearing towns as far away as Llandudno.

Details of how the Island’s 69,000 population might be quickly evacuated over just two narrow bridges have been requested by PAWB supporters for many years. However, various authorities refused to acknowledge correspondence or constantly passed the enquiries onto other bodies.

A recent reply by Anglesey’s head of Emergency Planning giving some details of the emergency planning process and a copy the ‘Wylfa Off-site Plan’ (download PDF here)  is most welcome. PAWB hope to take advantage of improved dialogue with local authorities to obtain further nuclear disaster planning details.


Anglesey Council’s Reply:

Date: 28 August 2013
Subject: Re: Civil Emergencies in Wales, Welsh Audit Report

Thank you for your mail of the 23 August 2013 enquiring about our local emergency response arrangements.

I can confirm that an emergency plan outlining the immediate combined emergency response to an-off site nuclear emergency at Wylfa nuclear power station has been in place for some time. Plans are regularly reviewed following current guidance and exercises and they are also scrutinised by the Regulator. The most recent plan follows the guidance provided by the REPPIR Regulations 2001, and these arrangements are regularly exercised at least every two years. The next nuclear exercise is scheduled in November 2013; exercise Alaw, when the most current plan will be tested with an emergency scenario.

Work to review nuclear emergency planning in response to Fukushima has been on-going on a national level and as guidance is reviewed, amended and published, work on a local level takes place to embed revisions into the local plan.

You may be aware that following current guidance the population within the 1.6km detailed emergency planning zone surrounding the nuclear power station are included in a programmed alerting scheme and have also been provided with information on what to do should there be a nuclear incident with offsite consequences including taking potassium iodate tablets which have already been pre distributed to those residents. The residents are also contacted regularly in accordance with legislative requirements.

Although the most reasonably foreseen accident is unlikely to affect beyond the 1.6km DEPZ our planning reflects arrangements for advising the population up to 4km around the nuclear power station, possibly including evacuation and providing potassium iodate tablets if necessary.

In addition we have identified that an area up to 15km surrounding the site may require special measures if necessary. This primarily includes advice on sheltering and possibly receiving potassium iodate.

We therefore do not foresee, within current planning guidance; there will be a need for evacuating the island should there be a nuclear incident at Wylfa with offsite consequences.

The report which you refer to; Civil Emergencies in Wales, was
commissioned by the Wales Assembly and considered by their Public
Accounts Committee in July 2013. A number of recommendations were made to Government.

There is a duty to produce a community risk register and this is a
continuous process. The most recent risk register for NW may be seen at http://wales.gov.uk/docs/resilience/publications/120619nwalescommriskregenv3.pdf

Although I understand that a revised copy is imminent.

At present guidance on nuclear off site emergency planning is produced by DECC on behalf of UK government. The relevant part of which may interest you are located at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nuclear-emergency-planning-consolidated-guidance Although more recent guidance is imminent following further assessment of the Fukushima event.

Wales Government also has a response contribution to nuclear
emergencies and is an integral part of the process. However the duty to produce off site nuclear emergency plans rests with the principal local authority in whose area the nuclear power station is located, see: http://www.hse.gov.uk/radiation/ionising/reppir.htm

I trust this note will provide a response to your enquires and would be willing to send you a copy of the Wylfa Off Site Emergency Plan if it can assist further or clarify the response arrangements.

We would also welcome any discussion with you to address any concerns which you may have on our emergency plans, and provide further detail on the response arrangements, Please let me know if you would like a meeting to discuss.

Alan Williams

Rheolwr Cynllunio Argyfwng a Gwasanaethau Etholiadol.
Emergency Planning & Election Services Manager



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