Disasters & Accidents

Japan says nuke plants undamaged in major quake

Tokyo, Mar 17 (EFE).- Wednesday’s magnitude-7.3 earthquake off the coast of the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima left one person dead and 13 others injured, Japanese authorities said, but regulators did not detect any spike in radiation levels at nuclear plants.

Officials issued a tsunami advisory for the coast of Fukushima and neighboring Miyagi prefecture after the temblor struck at 11:36 pm, forecasting coastal waves of up to 1 m (39 in) above normal levels.

In Ishinomaki, one of the communities hardest hit in the magnitude-9-1 earthquake that devastated Fukushima on March 11, 2011, a tsunami surge of 20 cm (7.87 in) was detected between midnight and 1:00 am Thursday.

The 2011 disaster claimed nearly 20,000 lives.

This latest quake took place at a depth of 60 km (37 mi) Japan’s meteorological agency said.

The fatality occurred in Soma, Fukushima.

Utility TEPCO said that an electricity outage briefly interrupted the refrigeration system at its Fukushima Daini nuclear plant, and that indications of a fire at the Fukushima Daichi facility – shut down since suffering three meltdowns in the March 2011 quake and tsunami – turned out to be a false alarm.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that regulators detected no significant “irregularities” at any of Japan’s nuclear power plants.

The quake was felt as far away as the Tokyo metropolitan area, where more than 2 million households were without power and commuter rail service was suspended.

None of the roughly 100 passengers aboard was seriously hurt when a Tokyo-bound bullet train derailed as a result of the earthquake, operator JR East said.

Segments of major highways were closed as a precaution and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport halted arrivals and departures.

Japanese television aired images of comparatively minor damage to structures.

Situated on the so-called Ring of Fire, Japan is prone to earthquakes and has some of the world’s most rigorous building codes. EFE ahg-yk/jt-dr

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