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Japan jolted by earthquake: Memories of 2011’s massive death, destruction and nuclear disaster

By Oneindia Staff Writer
Google Oneindia News

Tokyo, Nov 22: Once again the island nation, Japan, has been hit hard by a tsunami following a massive earthquake.

On Tuesday, an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 struck northeastern Japan's Fukushima.


Thereafter, news reports say a tsunami measuring one metre hit Japan's coast at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.

The news brought back the memories of 2011 when tragedy almost torn-apart the country.

[Also Read: Magnitude 7.3 quake jolts Japan, tsunami warning issued]

In fact, in 2011, an earthquake and tsunami struck the same area killing thousands and destroying parts of the coastline.

Around 18,000 people died in 2011 tsunami in Japan.

The worst fear is that once again nuclear disaster might hit the island nation like it did back in 2011 at Fukushima prefecture.

Fukushima prefecture, around 290km north of Tokyo, is the home to Japan's ill-fated nuclear power plant.

[Also Read: 1-metre tsunami hits coast at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant]

The plant was destroyed by a huge tsunami following an offshore earthquake in March 2011.

The latest warnings have brought back all the horrifying memories of the earlier nuclear disaster.

Japan is seismically active and earthquakes are a regular feature in the country.

"However, in March 2011 the country experienced its biggest quake on record measuring in at an unprecedented magnitude 9.1. The massive quake resulted in a tsunami that triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl," wrote News.com.au.

"Japan is a major supplier of nuclear energy and has a number of nuclear power plants dotted along its coastline. In March 2011 these in-built security measures failed to work as intended. The earthquake caused a 15-metre-tall tsunami to crash over a number of power plant facilities causing major problems," added News.com.au.

The News.com.au writes that in 2011, eleven operating nuclear power plants shut down automatically, however, three of them suffered what's known as an INES 7 accident (the highest disaster level for nuclear plants) causing a loss of power, leading to loss of cooling protocols and subsequent radioactive releases.

The escape of radioactive materials created an incredibly toxic hazard and forced the displacement of thousand of nearby residents and caused immense environmental damage.

All reactors in the Fukushima nuclear plant were shut down following the 2011 disaster, but cooling is still needed for the used nuclear fuel stored on the site.

After Tuesday's earthquake, residents were asked to seek higher ground immediately. There were reports of minor injuries.

"The US Geological Survey initially put the magnitude of Tuesday's earthquake at 7.3 but later downgraded this to 6.9, lower than the number given by the Japanese authorities," reports BBC.

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