(The AEGIS Alliance) – TOKYO, JAPAN – A magnitude 7.3 earthquake rocked off the coast of Japan’s Fukushima prefecture on Saturday where one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters happened nearly a decade ago.
The Japan Meteorological Agency stated the quake, which it initially mentioned had a magnitude of 7.1, struck at 11:08 p.m. local time (9:08 a.m. ET) at a depth of 34 miles. Fourteen aftershocks have been recorded, it stated, but a tsunami warning has not been issued.
The quake was also felt in Japan’s capital of Tokyo.
“There have been no anomalies reported from any of the nuclear facilities,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stated. “Everything is normal,” he added.
Checks have still been carried out to find out the number of people who were injured, he stated, urging people to not venture outside and to be ready for aftershocks.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato informed a separate news conference earlier in Tokyo that nearly 850,000 households were left without power in areas surrounding Tokyo and northern Japan.
“Where the tremor was felt the strongest, there is a higher risk of structural collapse and landslides,” a spokeswoman for the Japan Meteorological Agency told reporters in Tokyo. Adding that people must be cautious about tremors.
Fukushima grew to become synonymous with nuclear catastrophe in March 2011 when the area was struck by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake — the strongest in Japan’s history. A tsunami quickly followed, leaving over 15,000 folks dead and 2,500 others still missing.
The lethal wall of water slammed through the walls of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, knocking out the power supply and causing three nuclear reactors to melt, spewing radioactive particles into the air. It will take many years to securely shut down the plant.
Space to store the 1 million tons of water that is equal to 400 Olympic-size swimming pools that have to be pumped through the reactor to keep the fuel cool, is also running out. While the water has been treated to remove a lot of the harmful radioactive materials, traces of tritium still remain.
Kato mentioned the plant was being inspected, however, there was “no concern of a damage-causing tsunami” and “no anomalies” were reported on the site. Investigations had been persevering with to ensure there was no structural damage, he added.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant, also tweeted that it had checked its facilities and “no abnormalities” were detected.
In an indication of rebirth, Fukushima was scheduled to host parts of the Summer Olympics set to happen in Japan in 2020. However, the games had been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Earthquakes are frequent in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about 20% of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or higher.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.