Fukushima quake: Injuries, no serious nuke woes


An update on yesterday’s quake [reported as a magnitude 6.9 shock by the U.S. Geological Survey] that struck near the site of the disastrous 11 March 2011 magnitude 9.1 Tohoku earthquake that caused than 16,000 deaths and a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Diaichi reactor system.

Seismologists see Monday’s quake as an aftershock of the 2011 giant, but unlike this one, nobody was killed and the problems at the Fukushima reactor complex were short-lived.

First, from Reuters:

There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries hours after the quake hit at 5:59 a.m. (2059 GMT Monday). It was centered off the coast of Fukushima prefecture at a depth of about 10 kilometers (6 miles), the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

A wave of up to 1.4 meters (4.5 ft) high was recorded at Sendai, about 70 km (45 miles) 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 harbors as tsunami warnings wailed after alerts of waves of up to 3 meters (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.

More from the London Telegraph on the reactor complex:

The operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant said there were no abnormalities observed at the plant, though a swelling of the tide of up to 1 metre was detected offshore.

The plant was swamped by the 2011 tsunami, sending three reactors into meltdown and leaking radiation into the surrounding area. The plant is being decommissioned but the situation remains serious as the utility figures out how to remove still-radioactive fuel rods and debris and what to do with the melted reactor cores.

Plant operator Tepco said a pump that supplies cooling water to a spent fuel pool at the nearby Fukushima Dai-ni plant stopped working, but that a backup pump had been launched to restore cooling water to the pool.

The Japan Times covers the damage and injuries:

According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, a total of 17 people in Fukushima, Chiba, Tokyo and Miyagi prefectures were injured as a result of the quake. They included an 82-year-old woman in Chiba who fell down some stairs in her home and fractured her hip. In Fukushima, three people were injured, two of whom were elderly women who tripped and suffered broken bones.

>snip<

No abnormalities were observed at other nuclear plants in northeastern Japan, according to Tepco and other power companies. Reactors at these nuclear plants have been offline.

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