Two Days Of Earthquakes Near Japan’s Operating Reactors

UPDATE: Mt. Aso near the fault line generating these earthquakes has had a small eruption.

Strong earthquakes have been hitting southern Japan in the Kyushu region. Considerable damage to buildings, infrastructure, hundreds injured and a rising death toll as the second day of constant aftershocks has passed. This brought immediate concern that the quakes could cause problems at the three nearby nuclear power plants. Sendai nuclear plant is the only one currently operating. It has stayed online through all of the quakes. The shaking at the plant was not high enough to force the automatic shut down system to trip. NRA and power company reports showed building movement at Sendai below the trip point and no declared abnormalities at all 3 plants. This report from a 2007 earthquake at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant showed automatic shutdown (SCRAM) set points well above the reported movement at Sendai.

Ikata and Genkai nuclear plants are also near the epicenter of these quakes. Both are currently offline.

Mt. Aso volcano is near the epicenter and sits between the three nuclear plants. It is currently at a level 2 where access within 1km of the crater is barred. This appears to be a fairly low level compared to warnings for the nearby Kagoshima volcano in the last year. Mt. Aso most recently erupted in September of 2015.

We are watching the situation closely for changes or anything that could pose additional risk to these three plants.

 

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