A scare, then relief after powerful Japan quake and tsunami This aerial photo shows Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, following a strong earthquake hit off the coast of Fukushima, northern Japan, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. (Kyodo News via AP/Yosuke Mizuno)
A scare, then relief after powerful Japan quake and tsunami
Lexile

At first, it was 2011 all over again.
 
"It really came back. And it was so awful. The sways to the side were huge," Kazuhiro Onuki said after northeastern Japan was jolted Nov. 22 by a magnitude-7.4 earthquake. The quake was the strongest since a devastating quake and tsunami five years ago.
 
"But nothing fell from the shelves," Onuki, 68, said in a phone interview, his voice calm and quiet.
 
Coastal residents returned home from higher ground, and fishing boats to port, after tsunami warnings were lifted along Japan's Pacific coast. The earthquake gave Tokyo, which is 150 miles away, a good shake. But it was much less powerful than the magnitude-9.0 quake in 2011. This time, only moderate tsunami waves reached shore.
 
The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which leaked radiation for miles after the 2011 tsunami, reported no problems. Decommissioning work on the destroyed reactors was suspended and the site inspected.
 
At least 14 people were reported injured, three with broken bones. Japanese TV showed items scattered on the floor in a store and books fallen from shelves in a library.
 
On the coast, lines of cars snaked away in the pre-dawn darkness after authorities urged residents to seek higher ground immediately.
 
The first tsunami waves hit about an hour later. The highest one was 4.6 feet, and reached Sendai Bay about two hours after the quake. By comparison, the waves in 2011 were 30 to 60 feet high.
 
The evacuation appeared to proceed calmly. Katushiro Abe, a 47-year-old tourism official in Ishinomaki, a city hit hard by the 2011 tsunami, was on the early shift and already in the office. But his wife and teenage daughter fled their home.
 
He said his family jumped in a car and drove to the foot of a nearby hill and rushed up.
 
Tsunami alerts have been issued at least two times since 2011, he said. He said his family was prepared and wasn't that alarmed. "We stayed in touch by email," he said.
 
It was the largest earthquake in northeastern Japan since the one in 2011 and some large aftershocks the same day. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the latest quake at a lower magnitude 6.9.
 
The Japan Meteorological Agency described it as an aftershock of the 2011 quake. That one triggered a tsunami that killed about 18,000 people. It wiped out entire neighborhoods.
 
"Aftershocks could continue not only for five years but as long as 100 years," Yasuhiro Umeda, a Kyoto University seismologist, said on Japanese broadcaster NTV.
 
In some areas, water could be seen moving up rivers, which funnel the waves to even greater heights. But the level of the water remained well within flood embankments. It was eerily reminiscent of the 2011 disaster, when much larger waves rushed up rivers and overflowed. Those waves swept away houses and automobiles.
 
Captains took their boats out to sea to avoid any damage as the waves rolled in.
 
"When I evacuated offshore, I experienced unusual waves," crew leader Hideo Ohira said after returning to Onahama port. "But they were not that big."
 
TEPCO, the utility that operates the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, said a swelling of the tide of up to 3 feet was detected offshore.
 
The plant is being decommissioned after the 2011 tsunami sent three of its reactors into meltdown. The site remains at risk as the utility figures out how to remove still-radioactive fuel rods and debris and what to do with the melted reactor cores.
 
At the nearby Fukushima Dai-ni plant, TEPCO said a pump that supplies cooling water to a spent fuel pool stopped working. A backup pump went into action after about 90 minutes, and the temperature rose less than one degree.
 
Naohiro Masuda, head of TEPCO's decommissioning unit, said he believes a safety system shut off the pump automatically as the water in the pool shook.
 
Onuki, the man who recalled the 2011 quake, has not been able to return to his home in Tomioka since then. The town remains a no-go zone because of radioactive contamination. He was staying at what he calls one of his temporary homes.
 
"I felt again that we should not have nuclear power," he said.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 64 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do captains take their boats out to sea to avoid damage?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (2)
  • gmatthew-dav
    12/08/2016 - 10:13 p.m.

    "A scare, then relief after Japan quake and tsunami" is the article that I read and my overall opinion of the topic was that I liked it and that Was good and here is my supporting evidence.

    My first piece of evidence of why I liked the article is because it told me in the 2011 Japanese earthquake waves were 30-60 feet tall which I found interesting.

    My second piece of evidence of why I liked the article is that "A backup pump went into action after about 90 minutes, and the temperature rose less than one degree"this was interesting yet disturbing that we could of had another nuclear disaster, even though the temperature only fluctuated a couple of degrees it doesn't take much for a meltdown to occur.

    My third and final piece of why I liked the article is "the 2011 quake,That one triggered a tsunami that killed about 18,000 people" what surprised me about this fact was the sheer number of people of killed in the 2011 Quake I didn't realized that many people died.

    In conclusion this article was interesting in a number of ways including the sheer magnitude of these very interesting
    facts which I had never realized before.

  • dmatthew-dav
    1/05/2017 - 08:33 p.m.

    In response to "A scare, then relief after powerful Japan quake and tsunami" I think that this is scary. One reason I think it is scary is that the waves were 4 feet tall. Another reason is that 100 people were injured 3 with broken bones. It says in the article it lasted about 90 minutes. A third reason is that books from the library and the shelfs were falling. Even though its not the 2011 earthquake. I still think it was scary.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT