No impact to Japan's nuclear plants following New Year’s Day quakes

January 3, 2024, 7:02AMNuclear News

A series of earthquakes on New Year’s Day that resulted in a tsunami warning and prompted evacuations from Japan’s west coast caused no irregularities at the country’s nuclear plants, Japanese officials have reported.

Details: The Japan Meteorological Agency said that 21 earthquakes—one measuring a magnitude of 7.6—occurred in a region 280 miles west of Tokyo. The area is home to seven commercial nuclear reactors, all operated by the Kansai Electric Power Company: two at Ohi, four at Takahama, and one at Mihama.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority reported “no risk of radioactivity leaking from the nuclear power plants” in the areas affected by the earthquakes and tsunamis. The International Atomic Energy Agency is in contact with the Japanese agency and will continue to monitor the situation.

Shika news: The two-unit Shika plant in Ishikawa prefecture, located closest to the strongest quake’s epicenter, has been off line since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Workers at Shika heard what sounded like an explosion and smelled something burning near a transformer at the site. Officials believe pressure inside the transformer increased due to the tremor and triggered a release, which activated the fire extinguishing system even though there was no actual fire. Electricity is still available for equipment critical to the plant’s safety, and cooling pools storing spent nuclear fuel are operational.

Results: At least 48 people have died in the earthquakes. Tsunami warnings have been downgraded; however, there are warnings of possible further tremors.

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