Japan earthquake sparks leak at Fukushima nuclear power plant

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Fears have been sparked that a nuclear power plant may have been damaged in Japan by a powerful earthquake.

Reports on Saturday revealed a 7.1 magnitude quake had struck off the coast of Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 – with worries the facility could have been damaged.

According to NHK, there has been a leak of nuclear fuel at the plant which is in the Fukushima Prefecture.

Pool water used for storing spent nuclear fuel may have escaped and contaminated the surrounding area.

However, reports also suggest the risk to workers and the surrounding area is low as the level of radiation is not an extreme risk.

TEPCO reports: "a patrol found that about 160 ml of pool water for storing spent nuclear fuel at Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 in preparation for decommissioning in Fukushima Prefecture had leaked into a ditch next to the pool.

"It seems that it overflowed due to the shaking of the earthquake, but according to the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, the amount is small, so there is no effect on the cooling of nuclear fuel, and the radiation dose is low, so there is no concern about exposure to workers."

The report continued that as of 1:40 am on Sunday, local time: "no major abnormalities have been found at the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant, and there is no change in the values of the monitoring posts that measure radiation levels around the nuclear power plant."

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The incident will bring back worrying memories for locals – following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011.

The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 caused devastating damage to the facility.

One worker died as a result of the accident when they contracted cancer linked to radiation from the plant.

While 16 were injured by hydrogen explosions and 2 were hospitalised with suspected radiation burns.

The earthquake that struck this weekend rattled much of North East Japan.

Damage to property, landslides and fires were all reported in the aftermath of the natural disaster.

The Sankei News reports: "The magnitude of the earthquake is estimated to be 7.1 magnitude.

"Both Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures have set up countermeasure headquarters. At least 20 people have been injured.

"In addition, there is information such as fires and rockfalls in apartment houses, and disconnection of electric wires, so prefectural police and fire departments are rushing to confirm the damage."

The quake hit at 11:08pm on Saturday February 13 local time, with an estimated depth of 60 kilometres, NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation reported.

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