A Japan-U.S. joint nuclear disaster prevention drill was held on Dec. 17 inside the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base and Yokosuka City Hall. A total of about 160 people from the city and central governments as well as U.S. Navy personnel took part in the event and confirmed with each other their initial collaborative responses.
The drill was conducted based on the scenario of coolant leaking from a pipeline inside the USS Ronald Reagan, a Yokosuka-based nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and exposing a crew member to mild radiation.
A dummy representing the crew member exposed to radiation was transported to a hospital by ambulance. The U.S. Navy and a monitoring team dispatched by the Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority worked together to measure the radiation levels in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, the municipal office set up a disaster response headquarters inside its building soon after it was notified of the accident by the U.S. Navy. Information was shared by all relevant authorities.
After the drill, Yokosuka Mayor Katsuaki Kamiji noted: “I was relieved that we were able to communicate smoothly. We will continue to strengthen our collaboration to prepare ourselves for an emergency.”
Meanwhile, the drill was observed by a group that aims to hold a referendum on the propriety of homeporting a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Yokosuka. Masahiko Goto, a lawyer and co-representative of the group issued a comment saying: “It was regrettable that local citizens were once again unable to participate in the drill. The drill conducted today will result in sacrificing the safety of local people.”
The drill has been conducted every year since 2007 following the decision to deploy the USS George Washington, the predecessor of the USS Ronald Reagan, to Yokosuka. This marked the 12th for the drill to be held and local people have never participated in it.