Japan Earthquake: Tsunami Strike Fukushima Coastline After 7.4 Magnitude Quake

A powerful earthquake off the northeast Japanese coast on Tuesday sent residents fleeing to higher ground and prompted worries about the Fukushima nuclear power plant destroyed by a tsunami five year ago.

Firefighters and others watch the port to check the water level as a tsunami warning is issued following an earthquake in Soma.

Firefighters and others watch the port to check the water level as a tsunami warning is issued following an earthquake in Soma.

Lines of cars were seen snaking away from the coast in the pre-dawn hours after authorities issued a tsunami warning and urged residents to seek higher ground immediately. The warning was lifted nearly four hours later.

The magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck in the same region that was devastated by a tsunami in 2011, killing some 18,000 people.

There were reports of minor injuries and damage, Japanese broadcaster NHK said. The earthquake shook buildings in Tokyo, 150 miles southwest of the epicentre.

NHK also showed one person’s video of water rushing up a river or canal, but well within the height of the embankment. It was eerily reminiscent of the 2011 disaster, when much larger tsunamis rushed up rivers and overflowed, wiping away entire neighbourhoods.

On Tuesday, tsunami waves were recorded along the coast. The highest one was 1.4 metres in Sendai Bay. A tsunami advisory was eventually lifted at 12.50pm local time.

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.

Naohiro Masuda, head of TEPCO’s decommissioning unit, said he believed the pump was shut off automatically by a safety system as the water in the pool shook.

He said decommissioning work at the destroyed Dai-ichi plant had been temporarily suspended because of the earthquake.

The US Geological Survey measured the magnitude at 6.9.

Comments

comments