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No Safety Concern at Nuclear Power Plants After Powerful Earthquake, Japan Informs IAEA

Vienna, Austria

A powerful earthquake off the eastern coast of Japan did not cause any issues of safety concern at the three nuclear power plants in the area, including the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the country’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today.

The NRA said “deficiencies” were found at some of the nuclear facilities after the 7.3 magnitude quake and the operators were dealing with them. As of 04:30 UTC today, 17 March, it added, there were no reports of issues giving rise to safety concerns at the nuclear sites located in the region. The NRA earlier informed the IAEA that the tremor had not caused elevated radiation levels at the plants.

The earthquake struck around 60 km off Japan’s coast at 14:36 UTC on 16 March, a force strong enough to move some of the hundreds of the seismically-qualified tanks where treated water is stored following the 2011 Fukushima accident by between two and ten centimetres, but there was no leakage, the NRA said. Japan is planning to discharge the treated water into the sea under the Government’s Basic Policy announced in April 2021. At Japan’s request, the IAEA is reviewing the safety aspects of the plan.

Also at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, whose six reactor units are in permanent shutdown, a cooling pump at the spent fuel pool of reactor unit 5 temporarily stopped working but later resumed operating and cooling functions at the site are maintained, the regulator said.

There was no damage at the Onagawa Nuclear Power Station, the NRA said earlier. At the Fukushima Daiini Nuclear Power Station, currently under decommissioning, the spent fuel pool pumps in reactor units 1 and 3 stopped for a period but are now fully functioning.

The NRA said it did not plan any further updates on the situation.

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