Jul 19, 2007

Japanese Quake Leads to Nuclear Spill

On Wednesday, the mayor of Kashiwazaki, Japan, ordered that the nuclear power plant affected by a strong earthquake be shut down. The earthquake that occurred on Monday in the northwest part of Japan led to radiation leaks and burst pipes, and the mayor wanted to keep the nuclear plant closed until safety can be confirmed.

The Washington Post reports that the earthquake had a magnitude 6.8 and caused a leak of about 315 gallons of water containing radioactive material that was then flushed into the sea. The earthquake killed nine people and injured over 800.

On Tuesday, officials reported to the Washington Post that 50 instances of "malfunctioning and trouble" had been found. At the time, four of the plant's seven reactors were running. All of these reactors were shut down automatically by a safety device after the earthquake.

Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the plant, reported that this quake was stronger than what the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa seven-reactor plant was prepared to deal with. Officials have told the Washington Post that none of the problems or leaks posed serious threats to people or the environment.