UPDATE: 3:45am GMT Dec 8th; USGS scientists say this may be part of the aftershocks from the March 2011 big quake.
UPDATE: Worker Happy11311 spoke to someone working at Fukushima Daiichi today. He conveyed that things on the ground did not appear to be abnormal and that no malfunctions were found during the time and location his work group was in the plant. There were also obvious concerns expressed by Happy about the ability of the plant to deal with more quakes.
UPDATE: TEPCO is now stating they will do an inspection of the sea side area near units 5-6 today. They cite no new findings for Fukushima Daiichi. They did add an item for Fukushima Daini. Unit 1 Fukushima Daini began to see pressure increase the building by 0.05 kPa. The containment and certain parts of the building are kept at a negative pressure to prevent substances from leaking out. The stand by gas treatment system was activated removing some air from the reactor building. This air release is run through a filtration system. TEPCO claims no changes to radiation monitoring post readings at the plant. One of the reactors at Daini is known to have a cracked containment, it is not clear what unit at that plant has the damage. It was found after the March 2011 quakes.
UPDATE: 10 injured among multiple prefectures, power out in some areas of Aomori and Sendai airport grounded all flights. (source)
A long series of 4.0 to 5.0 range quakes followed. It was felt strongly in Sendai and Tokyo. It was felt as far away as Kanagawa, Yokohama and Gunma. (aftershocks listed below)
A tsunami warning was issued for Miyagi Prefecture and advisories for Aomori down to Iwate taking up most of the Tohoku coast. The actual waves were mostly 1 meter or less. Miyagi hospitals reported only minor injuries so far.
At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant the plant camera could be seen shaking. Due to the quake being quite late in the day most workers were not out doing tasks. If the quake had happened earlier in the day workers would have been out on scaffolds or building tops and crane work would have been underway. Workers on site were urged to take shelter in case of a tsunami. Worker Happy11311 said that workers went into the plant buildings and work areas to make some basic inspections and did not find anything immediately wrong with the cooling systems. More detailed inspections will take place in a few hours when daylight hits the plant. Workers who would have normally left for the day were kept on site for a period of time in case they were needed then later sent home after initial inspections didn’t turn up problems. No injuries were reported at the plant.
Worker Happy11311 pointed out that a tsunami hit at the plant would have wiped out much of their improvised systems with the exception of the water pumps on the hill. The fragile nature of the plant leaves it one tsunami away from falling back into a dangerous state of chaos. Even this far into the disaster, the build up of hydrogen could cause considerable damage if it were to reach concentration levels needed to explode. The lack of knowing where the corium is also leaves the potential for more radiation releases if plant conditions were allowed to severely degrade.
No damage was reported so far at unit 4. Many portions of that building have failed structural elements, strong quakes bring about concern for those structures. It is unclear how many workers will be on site when day breaks as it will be Saturday in Japan. TEPCO should be doing walk down visual inspections of accessible areas and a survey for movement in unit 4 should be conducted. TEPCO has not elaborated on ongoing work.
TEPCO reports 26.2 Gal (horizontal direction) in the building foundation of unit 6 at Fukushima Daiichi. Unit 4′s spent fuel pool was said to be sturdy enough for a 6 on the Japanese scale but that is only a reading for vertical shaking, they give no estimate for horizontal. This quake was a 5 on the Japanese scale.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency cautions this could be a pre-shock to a bigger quake. They cited a significant March 9, 2011 quake in Japan before the big 3.11.2011 quake.
Radiation sensors at the Tokai nuclear plant in Ibaraki went offline with the last reading slightly over 1 hour before the quake.
Happy11311 called the quake “God as banging the desk” (rough translation) ahead of the election and the leading LDP party’s plan to continue nuclear power.
Video of the quake at the plant. Checks of video in recent hours showed no activity and nothing unusual or obviously damaged. More information should begin coming out of Japan in a few hours regarding the plant. We will post updates as we find new information.
HIZ RSOE reports it as 4.9. Here are the last 10 from that site: 07th December 2012 at 03:15 PM Ofunato, Iwate, Japan 31.82 km 4.9 2 hours ago. 07th December 2012 at 02:32 PM Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan 19.22 km 4.7 2 hours ago. 07th December 2012 at 02:32 PM Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan 13.40 km 4.7 3 hours ago. 07th December 2012 at 12:58 PM Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan 18.60 km 5.0 3 hours ago. 07th December 2012 at 12:58 PM Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan 21.68 km 5.0 3 hours ago. 07th December 2012 at 12:48 PM Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan 31.82 km 4.8 3 hours ago. 07th December 2012 at 12:48 PM Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan 26.82 km 4.8 4 hours ago. 07th December 2012 at 12:33 PM Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan 32.39 km 4.7 4 hours ago. 07th December 2012 at 12:33 PM Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan 29.16 km 4.7 4 hours ago. 07th December 2012 at 12:05 PM Ofunato, Iwate, Japan 9.07 km 4.9
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