Monday, July 11, 2011

7.0 earthquake shakes northeastern Japan

A strong earthquake struck the same area on Sunday in northeast, but there was no evidence of further damage along the coast or in the Fukushima nuclear plant collapsed, officials said. The Japan Meteorological Agency lifted a tsunami warning for the region before noon, after initially urged residents in the disaster area away from the coast.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated its magnitude at 7.0 and said it occurred at a depth of 18 kilometers off the northeast coast, shortly before 10.00 local time. The same area was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in March, which left 21,000 people dead and missing. The disaster of March 11 to cut power plant in Fukushima and detonated a nuclear crisis.

"It started as a slight quiver, then gradually became stronger," said Nobuyuki Midorikawa, an official of the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. "After living such devastation in March, this latest earthquake and tsunami warning made me feel that we can not lower our guard against a tsunami," said Midorikawa.

Tokyo Electric Power, which operates the plant in Fukushima, said the workers closest to the coast had been evacuated to higher ground briefly, and had already returned to work. The company added that there was no immediate sign of damage to the plant, where it was to fix the cooling system to stabilize the reactor and radiation control.

The cooling system was not disrupted by the quake, said the firm. Tokyo Electric said there was no damage to the huge barge anchored off the Fukushima nuclear plant has been used as a temporary storage of water contaminated with radiation. The March 11 earthquake that rocked the northeastern coast of Japan had a magnitude of 9.0 and triggered a tsunami that caused severe damage to the coast and reached about 14 meters in the nuclear plant in Fukushima.

The loss of electricity resulting in the Fukushima nuclear plant cooling systems turned off and causing a nuclear fusion fuel for three of the six reactors at the complex. Subsequently, hydrogen explosions radioactive material distributed over a wide area. About 80 000 nearby residents have been forced to evacuate due to radiation and the Government of Japan faced harsh criticism for his handling of the disaster, which put pressure on the unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan to resign.

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