Mag. 6.8 Quake Struck Off Honshu, Eastern Japan: No Nuclear Events but Danger at Fukushima Remains
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : A magnitude 6.8 earthquake with epicenter off the coast of Honshu, eastern Japan, shook up the region last night. A tsunami advisory was issued but soon revoked. Initial sensationalized reports about Fukushima prefecture were baseless, but the very real danger of a nuclear event, should a 6.8 quake strike near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant remains.
The earthquake, measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale, started on July 11 at 19.30 UTC. The quake was succeeded by five aftershocks lasting until 22.45 UTC, measuring, respectively, 4.6, 4.8, 4.8, 4.5, and 4.5., according to the US geological Survey.
A Tokyo resident said “woke me up, building shaking lightly”, reports Earthquake Report. The website quotes another person from Tokyo who was at the 35th floor at the Shangri La Hotel, saying that the building was swaying lightly.
A witness from Fujisawa reported light swaying for more than ten seconds. The quake woke her up; she lives in an 8th floor apartment. Also other witnesses reported “moderate” swaying.
Japanese authorities issued a tsunami advisory following the quake. The advisory included Tohoku, Iwake, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. No “substantial” damage was done by minor tsunamis. The greater damage may have been done by initial, sensationalized reports about a massive 6.8 quake in Japan and that “Fukushima has been affected”.
Ofunato and Ishinomaki-shi Ayukawa reported that the height of the tsunami was 0.2 meters. Other coastal towns and villages reported a “slight” tsunami. Initial sensational reports may have caused the greatest damage, as at least three residents of Fukushima prefecture had to be treated at hospitals for panic related symptoms.
Sensationalized reports easily trigger panic attacks, especially among populations with a high prevalence of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
No nuclear event was reported from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).
Japanese journalist, activist and artist Mako Oshidori reported on her Facebook page that the quake woke her up, and that she was concerned about the Fukushima Daiichi NPP.
Mako Osidori published information about the status of Japan’s nuclear power plants, respective to the earthquake in an article published in “Daily Magazine 9″.
Quoting the Nuclear Regulatry Agency Response Office, Oshidori reported that the maximum seismic activity at the TEPCO-owned Fukushima Daiichi NPP was magnitude 4.0 on the Richter scale.
The power plant reported “no anomalies” about the state of the plant, and no anomalies were reported from its monitoring posts. Mako Oshidori reported on her Facebook page that she “sat like glued, watching the Fukushima live cam” but reported no anomalies either. nsnbc will update its readers as far as there should occur any significant events.
Ms. Mako Oshidori is one of the most reliable Japanese journalistic sources of information on the situation around the Fukushima Daiichi NPP. A status, which has brought her more than enough of inappropriate attention from the side of the plant’s operator TEPCO, who planned to “silence her”, as well as from the side of Japanse police authorities.
While the gravest danger for residents of the Fukushima prefecture last night may have come from sensationalized “foreign” media reports, the very real danger of a catastrophic nuclear event of global reach in the case that a major earthquake should strike the Fukushima prefecture directly remains, and cannot be underestimated.
The removal of spent fuel, especially from the heavily damaged reactor building four is an extremely delicate process and is expected to last for another year before it is completed. The building sustained both seismic damage and it was severely, structurally damaged by the catastrophic events in 2011. Moreover, the building is sinking and tilting because of the large amounts of water which are pumped into the building, and which is leaking into the ground – and the Pacific Ocean.
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake striking near the crippled NPP implies a high probability of a building collapse which would result in hundreds of fuel rods starting an open air fission – melt-out process that, according to experts, would have catastrophic consequences for the health of the entire population of Japan and large parts of the Western United States.Large parts of the U.S. West Coast and Japan would likely have to be evacuated.
Cancer would spike, globally, said nuclear health expert Prof. Dr. Christopher Busby, and nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, among others. The clean-up operation is a race against time. The risk that a major earthquake strikes the facility is alarmingly high, considering that Japan is situated in one of the world’s most seismic active zones.
CH/L – nsnbc 12.07.2014