5.3 Earthquake Hits Fukushima; No Further Damage to Nuclear Plant

Image: 5.3 Earthquake Hits Fukushima; No Further Damage to Nuclear Plant Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

Thursday, 19 Sep 2013 03:36 PM

By David Ogul

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An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3 on the Richter scale struck Fukushima, Japan, early Friday, but no further damage to a nuclear power plant devastated by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami has been reported, according to Japanese media.

Japanese authorities are saying the latest quake registered 5.8 on the Richter scale, but the U.S. Geological Survey recorded it as measuring at 5.3.

No tsunami warnings have been issued.

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The region lies on the so-called "Ring of Fire," an area active with earthquakes and volcanoes that stretch around the Pacific Rim. Some 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occur in the area.

A massive quake and tsunami in March of 2011 caused three nuclear reactors to melt and damaged a fuel cooling pond at another. That has been followed by contaminated groundwater seeping into the Pacific Ocean, further exacerbating an ecological disaster.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had ordered all six reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant to be scrapped just hours before the latest quake struck so that authorities could concentrate on stemming the leaks of radioactive water. Initial plans called for the decommissioning of four of the reactors, The Associated Press said. Reactors 5 and 6 had survived the devastating 2011 quake and tsunami.

According to an earlier AP story, experts say cleaning up the Fukushima plant will be far more difficult than the efforts at the 1979 Three Mile Island plant accident in the United States.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said no new problems have been discovered due to the latest quake, according to Kyodo News.

The Friday quake (Japan is on the other side of the International dateline) struck at a depth of about 13 miles under Fukushima Prefecture and more than 100 miles northeast of Tokyo, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Related stories:

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Workers Reportedly Exposed to Radiation

Fukushima Steam: Rain Leaking Into Crippled Reactor May Be Cause

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