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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tsunami hits Japan after strong quake!

Tsunami hits Japan after strong quake
  • POWERFUL: Warnings, evacuations swiftly follow 7.4 magnitude quake with no reports of deaths or injuries
TOKYO:
A powerful earthquake rocked northern Japan early on Tuesday, briefly disrupting cooling functions at a nuclear plant and generating a small tsunami that hit the same Fukushima region devastated by a 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

The magnitude 7.4 earthquake, which was felt in Tokyo, sent thousands of residents fleeing for higher ground as dawn broke along the northeastern coast.

There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries hours after the quake hit at 5:59 am. It was centred off the coast of Fukushima prefecture at a depth of about 10 kilometres, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.A wave of up to 1.4 metres high was recorded at Sendai, about 70 km north of Fukushima, with smaller waves hitting ports elsewhere along the coast, public broadcaster NHK said.

Television footage showed ships moving out to sea from harbours as tsunami warnings wailed after alerts of waves of up to 10 feet were issued.

“We saw high waves but nothing that went over the tidal barriers,” a man in the city of Iwaki told NTV television network.

Aerial footage showed tsunami waves flowing up rivers in some areas, and some fishing boats were overturned in the port of Higashi-Matsushima before the JMA lifted its warnings.

The US Geological Survey measured Tuesday’s quake at magnitude 6.9, down from an initial 7.3.

All Japan’s nuclear power plants in the area have been shut down in the wake of the March 2011 disaster, which knocked out cooling systems at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, causing reactors to melt down and spew radiation into the air, soil and sea.

The cooling system for a storage pool for spent nuclear fuel at the reactor at its Fukushima Daini Plant was initially halted on Tuesday, said a spokeswoman for Tokyo Electric Power, known as Tepco, but was restarted soon after.

Only two reactors are operating in Japan, both in the southwest. Nuclear plants need cooling systems operating even when in shutdown to keep spent fuel cool.

Tohoku Electric Power Co said there was no damage to its Onagawa nuclear plant, while the Kyodo news agency reported there were no irregularities at the Tokai Daini nuclear plant in Ibaraki prefecture.

Japanese Minister for Disaster Management Jun Matsumoto told reporters there had been no reports of significant injuries. One woman suffered cuts to her head from falling dishes, Kyodo reported, citing fire department officials.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about 20 per cent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

The March 11, 2011, quake was magnitude 9, the strongest quake ever recorded in Japan. The massive tsunami it generated knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier. Reuters


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