South Korea will carry out a disaster drill on a nuclear power plant on the east coast this week to check updated emergency protocols on damage control and evacuation, the government said Monday.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said the drill will be carried out at the Wolsong station, located 370 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Tuesday and Wednesday. The plant currently has four operational reactors with two more units being built.
The drill will be based on the assumption of a massive earthquake and tsunami hitting the nuclear plant and causing radioactive materials to be released into the environment, the ministry said.
“The exercise aims to check the preparedness of local nuclear operators and disaster relief workers to cope with a crisis situation similar to that of the crippled Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station in mid-March,” it said.
The Fukushima incident has been rated as the worst nuclear disaster in history on par with the Chernobyl disaster that took place in the former Soviet Union in 1986.
The release of radioactive materials that reached South Korea also triggered nuclear safety concerns in the country that operates 21 reactors. Seoul conducted a check on all reactors and said in early May that they are safe to operate.
The ministry said the exercise will involve experts from the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety, the country’s atomic safety regulator, along with local government officials, fire fighters, police and local hospitals.
Up to 30 government organizations and 7,000 personnel will be involved in the two-day exercise, which includes evacuation rehearsals for people living near atomic facilities, medical treatment for victims exposed to radiation and emergency response measures that must be taken by atomic energy workers and emergency service personnel.