It took the central government more than eight hours after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to send the prefecture a map detailing the potential levels of exposure for nearby areas to radioactive materials released in the disaster, according to sources.
The delay in delivering the map, which is supposed to be sent to local governments in emergency situations to help them swiftly carry out safety measures, is likely to have impeded the prefecture's evacuation of residents.
The map was created after the plant lost power at around 3:30 p.m. March 11 but was not delivered immediately as a dedicated line for sending the data and a terminal in the prefecture for receiving it had been destroyed by the devastating quake, according to an agency commissioned by the central government to create such maps.
The prefecture eventually received the map at around 11:50 p.m. via email. However, it had to decide the areas and timing of the evacuation without sufficient radiation data when it issued the first evacuation order at 8:50 p.m. for residents living within 2 km of the plant, prefectural government sources said Monday.
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