Friday, April 8, 2011

New strong earthquake in northeastern Japan

A strong earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale occurred Thursday, April 7, thirty miles north-east coast of Japan, according to the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey Institute). This strong jolt, identified as a replica of the earthquake that devastated the exceptional northeast of the island on March 11, left four dead and 140 wounded.

Two women of 83 and 63 years and two men aged 79 and 85 were killed. According to the USGS, the earthquake occurred at 25.6 km depth. It was felt as far away as Tokyo, 400 kilometers south, where buildings and houses shook for tens of seconds. The earthquake of 11 March, a magnitude 9, caused a tsunami of at least 10 meters.

Nearly 28,000 people are dead or missing. Japanese authorities immediately declared that the two nuclear plants in Fukushima, located in the region were not affected by the earthquake. "We have no immediate information indicating that something unusual had occurred at the plant, TEPCO said the manager.

The water supply of units 1, 2 and 3 proceeds smoothly. However, the technicians who were on hand to try to prevent a merger from the heart of the reactors and a nuclear disaster in the central Fukushima 1 were evacuated. Nearly four weeks after being struck by the earthquake and tsunami which followed, the central Fukushima still raises a very serious concern.

In contrast, "anomalies" were detected disturbing the nuclear Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture, with overflow of water from the pool of spent fuel from two reactors. The operator, Tohoku Electric Power, but said the quantities were very small and the radioactivity of the water far below the legal limit.

The quake did not cause a new tsunami alert issued by the Japanese authorities was lifted quickly. The inhabitants of the coast of Miyagi prefecture have still been invited to take refuge in higher places. Power outages were reported in several towns of the region, as well as gas leaks and flooding.

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