Earthquake and aftershock in Japan

Posted by: ST on July 16, 2007 at 12:24 pm

MSNBC is reporting 7 dead and at least 800 wounded:

KASHIWAZAKI, Japan – A strong aftershock rocked Japan on Monday just hours after an earthquake left at least seven dead and caused a radioactive water leak and fire at one of the world’s most powerful nuclear power plants.

The aftershock was measured at 6.6 by the U.S. Geological Survey, which rated the earthquake at 6.7.

It was not clear if the aftershock caused injuries or damage, but the earthquake injured hundreds and turned buildings into piles of lumber.

Earlier, the national broadcaster NHK reported that water containing radioactive material leaked from the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant — the world’s largest — into the Sea of Japan, but that the radioactivity level was low and posed no environmental danger.

The reactor automatically shut down at the time of the leak, the report said. The quake triggered a fire at an electrical transformer at the plant, but plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said earlier in the day that the reactor was not damaged.

Kashiwazaki is hardest hit

The earthquake, which left fissures 3 feet wide in the ground along the coast, hit shortly after 10 a.m. local time and was centered off Niigata state. Buildings swayed 160 miles away in Tokyo. Sirens wailed in Kashiwazaki, a city of about 90,000, which appeared to be hardest hit.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency measured the quake at a 6.8 magnitude.

ST reader forest hunter has noted here before that he is in Japan. I’ve emailed him but have not heard back from him as of yet. Please keep him, his family, and the many many others who have been affected by this earthquake in your thoughts and prayers.

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4 Responses to “Earthquake and aftershock in Japan”


  1. The low numbers of dead let us know how important economic growth is. If a similar earthquaket hit Pakistan we’d be talking about a humanitarian crisis like the tsuanmi a few years ago. A free market economy has allowed Japan to be rich enough to build stronger buildings and afford high quality rescue services that save lives. The lesson here is if you want to survive earthquakes get richer.

  2. James Aach says:

    Regarding the nuclear power aspects: I don’t know specifics of the Japanese quake, but I do have some understanding of the nuclear industry, having worked in the US version for 20+ years. Like all energy sources, nuclear power has it’s good and bad points. US plants (and I suspect Japanese) are designed to handle things such as earthquakes and hurricanes, which have predictable effects on structures that engineers have been dealing with for decades.

    I think we’ll make better decisions about our energy future if we first understand our energy present. If you’d like a painless overview, via a thriller novel, see my website for a free online verision of “Rad Decision”, or pickup the paperback. Link listed in signature line. –ST

  3. Thanks for your concern ST! As I mentioned in the email I just sent to you, we’re fine. Not so for those who had old houses on the galloping streets further north.

    Yesterday was a National holiday (Ocean Day) but I don’t know how much that may have affected the casualties. Typically most folks stay home on that particular holiday. For those that were home, since trains were shutdown and roadways obstructed, the upside is that they were together when tragedy fell upon them. Not being able to get to those that I care about would drive me nuts.

  4. Yay! Good to see you posting, forest.