Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global
5.2 Earthquake hits Tonga.
5.1 Earthquake hits off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.
5.1 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands off New Zealand.
5.0 Earthquake hits Tajikistan.
5.0 Earthquake hits Seram, Indonesia.
5.0 Earthquake hits east of the Izu Islands off Japan.
More Troubling Developments at Fukushima, Japan
Contaminated water from earthquake-damaged Japanese nuclear plant could could taint Pacific Ocean. Deep beneath Fukushima’s crippled nuclear power station a massive underground reservoir of contaminated water that began spilling from the plant’s reactors after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has been creeping slowly toward the sea. Now, two-and-a-half years later, experts fear it is about to reach the Pacific and greatly worsen what is fast becoming a new crisis at Fukushima: the inability to contain vast quantities of radioactive water.
The looming crisis is potentially far greater than the discovery earlier this week of a leak from a tank used to store contaminated water used to cool the reactor cores. That 300-ton (80,000 gallon) leak is the fifth and most serious since the disaster of 2011. But experts believe the underground seepage from the reactor and turbine building area is much bigger and possibly more radioactive, confronting the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., with an invisible, chronic problem and few viable solutions. Many also believe it is another example of how TEPCO has repeatedly failed to acknowledge problems that it could almost certainly have foreseen – and could have taken action to mitigate before they got out of control.
It remains unclear what the impact of the contamination on the environment will be because the radioactivity will be diluted as it spreads further into the sea. Most fishing in the area is already banned.
To keep the melted nuclear fuel from overheating, TEPCO has rigged a makeshift system of pipes and hoses to funnel water into the broken reactors. The radioactive water is then treated and stored in the aboveground tanks that have developed leaks. But far more leaks into the reactor basements during the cooling process — then through cracks into the surrounding earth and ground water.
The turbine buildings at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant are about 150 meters (500 feet) from the ocean. The contaminated underground water is spreading toward the sea at a rate of about 4 meters (13 feet) a month.