Fukushima update: Major aftershock hits Japan; cash and safes are washing ashore
One month after the March 11 quake that triggered a tsunami and damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Japanese observed a moment of silence. A 6.6 temblor shook Japan again.
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April 7: A massive 7.1 aftershock struck northern Japan's Miyagi Prefecture. Workers temporarily evacuated Fukushima as tsunami advisories were issued and then lifted. Two out of three external power lines to the Onagawa nuclear power plant, 75 miles northeast of Fukushima and near the epicenter of Thursday's temblor, have been damaged, causing power loss. South Korea criticized the Japanese government for failing to notify its neighbor that it would pump radioactive water into the sea.Skip to next paragraph
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April 6: Emergency workers have managed to stop the radioactive water, measured at 7.5 million times the legal limit, from leaking out of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant's reactor No. 2 and into the ocean, say officials. Plant operator Tepco is now concerned about a build-up of hydrogen inside reactor No. 1, which may mean the reactor's core is damaged. As a precautionary measure, officials say workers are preparing to inject nitrogen into the containment vessel to try to bring the reactor under control. Meanwhile, Japan's official spokesperson, Yukio Edano apologized to neighboring countries for not notifying them before they started pumping low-level radioactive water into the ocean this past weekend.
April 5: Tepco says it is continuing to pump millions of gallons of contaminated water, overflow from efforts to cool the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, into the sea. The move is to help cooling efforts as workers attempt to slow a major leak of highly radioactive water from the plant. Tepco says it has succeeded in slowing leaking water from the No. 2 reactor. However, the levels of radioactive contamination of caesium in fish are now exceeding health guidelines, increasing environmental and food safety concerns. Meanwhile, Japanese police have charged two people with selling a fake radiation protectant drug, according to investigators.
April 4: Tepco said some 11,500 tons of contaminated water would be released today in order to make room for more radioactive water storage. Authorities say they have still not found the source of a leak they believe is responsible for highly contaminated water levels near Fukushima.
Some key Facts as of Thursday, April 7:
- Death toll: 13,013
- Unaccounted for: at least 14,600
- Living in shelters: around 151,000 people
- Estimated damage cost: $309 billion