Fukushima on yellow alert after 7.3 earthquake, tsunami warning in Japan

Fukushima on yellow alert after 7.3 earthquake, tsunami warning

Courtesy of Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Japan has issued a tsunami advisory for the Fukushima area – where the crippled nuclear plant is located – after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit the country at 16:10 GMT Friday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said a minor tsunami – up to one metre (3.3ft) – could reach the eastern coast, but no damage was expected.

JMA said the 7.1 magnitude quake struck at a depth of 10km, about 320km off Japan's eastern coast.

The agency has issued a "yellow" advisory for Fukushima and also the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, Ibaraki and parts of Chiba, saying tsunami waves could reach 0.2-1m.

Meanwhile, the US Geological Survey said the movement was a 7.3 magnitude earthquake.

According to ITV.com, Fukushima’s plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has ordered workers near the coast to evacuate facilities and move to higher ground.

For months TEPCO has been struggling to contain contaminated water leakage at the plant. Despite the company pouring thousands of tonnes of water on the plant's reactors to tame ongoing meltdowns, it acknowledge last week that radioactivity levels at Fukushima were 6,500 times higher than any previous readings.

Fukushima’s ongoing crisis has come under the international spotlight in recent weeks as NRA disclosed in early September that radiation levels around the plant were “18 times higher” than thought.

The radioactive stream of toxic fluids released during the nuclear plant disaster is expected to reach the West Coast of the US by March next year.

Only two of Japan’s 50 reactors are still in operations, since the March 2011 magnitude-9.0 earthquake and following tsunami caused multiple meltdowns and massive radiation leaks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, about 250 kilometres northeast of Tokyo.

Image courtesy of JMA