Japan quake measured at 6.7 causes landslides

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32 people are confirmed missing in Sapporo after a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s northernmost main Hokkaido island in the early hours of Thursday. This surprise attack caused landslides that buried houses.


The earthquake, which struck at 3:08 in the morning, cut electricity to 3 million homes and the nuclear power plant as in danger of leaking as what happened in Fukushima before it. The prefecture grounded all flights and halted all train services.


The vast majority of houses were buried after the tremor left and mountain slopes collapsed. The 32 missing are all local residents.


The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari nuclear power plant lost an external power source. The dangerous spent fuel pool at reactors 1, 2 and 3 are currently being cooled by an emergency power supply system.


Radiation level abnormalities around the plant did not exceed safe limits. Tohoku Electric Power Co. also said that no abnormalities were detected at the Higashidori nuclear power plant.


The emergency shutdown of nuclear power plants was in response to the quake. The power outage also affected the 40 hospitals in the area as well as telephone services and television broadcasting services.


A fire was reported at a petrochemical complex and the but was later extinguished by firefighters who risked their lives to stop another potential hazard.


The temor, which occurred in southern Hokkaido at a depth of about 37 kilometers, was recorded at the seismic intensity scale of 7 and lower 6, fluctuating around that level. Several small aftershocks were recorded and no tsunami warning was issued.


The new Airport at Chitose will be closed throughout the day and possibly for a week after part of its terminal ceiling collapsed. Also, the power outage affected many flights to and from Tokyo and other cities as well as international travels.


Reference: At least 9 dead, 300 injured as powerful quake jolts northern Japan


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