25 Oct 2013

Japan’s Fukushima plant undamaged after quake


An earthquake of magnitude 7.3 strikes off Japan’s east coast, according to the US Geological Survey, triggering small tsunamis but causing no apparent damage.

Japan’s meteorological agency say the quake was an aftershock of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that struck the same area in 2011, killing about 19,000 people and devastating the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant.

Tsunamis of up to 40 centimeters (15 inches) were reported at four areas along the coast, but a tsunami advisory has now been lifted.

Here’s how William Welch put it on twitter when the quake struck:

The major tsunami on 11 March 2011 was triggered by a 9 magnitude quake, though much deeper at 32km.

It was the tidal waves unleashed by that quake, not the quake itself, which caused the devastation leaving a third of a million people homeless.

But the concern is that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which suffered a level-seven nuclear meltdown after the tsunami, has been leaking radioactive water into the Pacific ever since, as the authorities struggle still to bring the situation there fully under control.

Russia Today is reporting that staff at the plant have been evacuated as a small – one metre – tsunami is forecast to hit the area.

Like the devastating quake of two years ago, this one is also centred off the coast of Fukushima. What that means is off the coast of the Fukushima prefecture or state.

Fukushima city is over an hour’s drive from the nuclear plant itself.

All the towns immediately around the plant – and there are three within the current 10 km total exclusion zone – are ghost towns, abandoned since the quake.

You can only visit them for a short period once every month, and only if you have property there or are accompanying someone who does, by prior arrangement with the authorities.

Ten minutes after the quake NHK cameras – the national Japanese broadcaster – are showing nothing unusual in the sea’s movements and there are no reports as yet of any structural damage.

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