11 April 2011

Good roundup on the new quake (6.6) and radiation updates for today

Al Jazeera Staff inon April 11th, 2011.
[Photo by AFP]

Follow the latest events around the Pacific Rim after an 9.0-magnitude earthquake off Japan's coast triggered a devastating tsunami.
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(All times are local in Japan GMT+9)
9:06 p.m. Reuters reports that Tokto Electric Power Co. (the company which operates the damaged Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukoshima) might be on the hook for $23.6 bn in compensation costs. The news agency reports:
Shares of Tokyo Electric, commonly known as Tepco, have lost about three-fourths of their value since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami tore through the Fukoshima Daiichi nuclear complex, causing it to leak radiation.
...As Tepco has struggled to contain the crisis, analysts have struggled to come up with viable estimates for the financial burden facing the utility given the unprecedented scale of the problem and uncertainty over the likely degree of government support. 
7:45 p.m. The governmnet's decision to encourage families living in the 20-30 km zone outside the plant to evacuate has prompted anger and confusion . The AP news agency reports that up official insist that the area was safe, and yet, they're asking pregnant women and children under the age of three to leave, citing "long term exposure risks" to the radioactive fission materials leaking out of the unstable nuclear plant.
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7:31 p.m. There are no irregularities resulting from today's quake reported at the Daiichi plant.
7:07 p.m. The Japanese government has expanded the evacuation zone around the troubled Daiichi plant in Fukoshima to the 20-30km radius outside the plant. It seems the earlier quake also played a role in the decision. Reuters news agency reports:
Japan on Monday expanded the evacuation zone around its crippled nuclear plant because of high levels of accumulated radiation, as a strong aftershock rattled the area one month after a quake and tsunami sparked the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.
A magnitude 6.6 tremor shook buildings in Tokyo and a wide swathe of eastern Japan on Monday evening, knocking out power to 220,000 households and causing a halt to water pumping to cool
three damaged reactors at Fukushima. 
Children, pregnant women, and hospitalised patients should stay out of some areas 20-30 km from the nuclear complex, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters.
'These new evacuation plans are meant to ensure safety against risks of living there for half a year or one year,' he said. 
6:13 p.mThe quake is downgraded to a magnitude 6.6, but this hardly means that the Japanese can relax. There's still the matter of rebuilding what was destroyed by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Harry Fawcett reports from the coastal city of Rikuzentakata:
5:30 p.m. The tsunami warning is lifted.
  • 4:40 p.m As Japan is about to mark the passge of one month since a quake and tsunami that wiped out entire communities on the country's northeast coast, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits the same area, promping a tsunami warning. However, the waves are exected to around 50cm high. It remains unclear if the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukoshima has sustained further damage, but workers there are evacuated.
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    Regular coverage of the disaster can be found on our Japan disaster spotlight page

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