Quake hits off Japan's Fukushima, triggers tsunami

140-centimeter tsunami seen at Sendai port; operation of nuclear fuel cooling facility at Fukushima plant briefly halted

Quake hits off Japan's Fukushima, triggers tsunami

World Bulletin / News Desk

A powerful earthquake struck off northeast Japan on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami and causing residents to evacuate an area devastated by a 2011 temblor that led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

A tsunami with a height of 140 centimeters was spotted at Sendai port in Miyagi Prefecture around two hours after the morning quake, which had a preliminary magnitude of 7.4, Kyodo news agency cited the Japan Meteorological Agency as saying.

In other coastal areas of Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures, waves measuring up to 90 cm were observed and the agency warned that similar-scale temblors could rock the region for around a week. It lifted its tsunami advisory for the coast in the afternoon.

The quake shook a large area of northeastern and eastern Japan, including the Tokyo metropolitan area, disrupting traffic and public transportation.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., or TEPCO, said that a nuclear fuel cooling facility for the No. 3 reactor building of the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant temporarily stopped operating.

Yoshihide Suga, the government's top spokesman, was quoted as telling reporters in Tokyo that authorities “are currently confirming the situation, but I have been informed that [the cooling failure] will not immediately lead to a radiation leak or an increase in the temperature of the fuel”.

The morning quake -- believed to be an aftershock of the March 2011 temblor -- left some people in Fukushima with minor injuries, according to local firefighters.

According to TEPCO, a wave measuring around 1 meter reached the coast where the Fukushima Daiichi complex -- which suffered meltdowns in 2011 -- is located, while the utility and other power companies said no abnormalities were detected at other nuclear plants in the region.

Japan began shutting its 48 nuclear power plants after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of 2011 damaged four reactors in Fukushima, melting the cores in three of them and forcing thousands of people to leave their homes, most of whom have been able to return.

The quake devastated the coastal areas of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, while the massive tsunami killed more than 18,000 people.

Japan is one of the world’s most seismically active areas. It accounts for around 20 percent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

In April, two powerful earthquakes hit southwest Kumamoto Prefecture, leaving at least 49 people dead.

Last Mod: 22 Kasım 2016, 10:12
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