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Major aftershock shakes Japan's ruined northeast, tsunami warning withdrawn.

Summary: TOKYO: A major aftershock rocked northeast Japan Thursday and a tsunami warning was issued for the coast devastated by last month's massive quake and tsunami that crippled a nuclear power plant. The warning was later lifted and no tsunami was reported. No damage from the quake, measured at magnitude 7.4 by the Japan Meteorological Agency

Yoko Kubota and Chizu Nomiyama

Reuters

TOKYO: A major aftershock rocked northeast Japan Thursday and a tsunami warning was issued for the coast devastated by last month's massive quake and tsunami that crippled a nuclear power plant.

The warning was later lifted and no tsunami was reported. No damage from the quake, measured at magnitude 7.4 by the Japan Meteorological Agency, was detected at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said.

Workers struggling to bring the plant under control were evacuated soon after the aftershock struck, shortly before midnight.

Large parts of northern Japan, where infrastructure was severely damaged by the March 11 quake and tsunami, were without electricity following the latest of many aftershocks, the biggest since last month's killer quake.

In the capital, Tokyo, buildings shook. "It started out as nothing much, then the building started swaying quite strongly," a Reuters witness said.

As of 1:30 a.m. (1630 GMT) seven people were reported injured, two of them seriously, a spokesman for the National Police Agency said.

Last month's huge 9.0 magnitude quake triggered tsunami waves which swept in along the coast, wiping out towns. About 28,000 people were killed or are missing.

The disaster has also disrupted industry and affected supply chains around the world but it was not immediately clear if Thursday's aftershock would compound those problems.

At the Fukushima nuclear plant, TEPCO said it was continuing to inject nitrogen into reactor No.1.

Engineers, who sealed a leak this week that had allowed highly radioactive water to flow into the sea, are pumping nitrogen into one reactor to prevent the risk of a hydrogen gas explosion, and want to start the process in another two reactors.

There were no abnormalities in radiation levels around Tohoku Electric's Onagawa nuclear power plant, where fuel rods are being cooled with just one outside power source, Japan's nuclear safety agency said.

As well as Fukushima Daiichi and Onagawa, nuclear power plants Higashidori in Aomori prefecture, Tokai No.2 in Ibaraki prefecture, and Fukushima Daini have been out of operation since the March quake.

No abnormalities were reported at those plants after Thursday's quake.

"Due to the [March 11 quake], the risk of landslides or buildings collapsing is higher than usual and there are possibilities of further damage with aftershocks," deputy chief Cabinet secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama said last week.

Japan's neighbors have sounded increasingly alarmed over the risk of radiation from the damaged plant 240 km north of Tokyo.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Apr 8, 2011
Words:490
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