Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Japan to formally end state of emergency at Fukushima nuclear plant

Japan will officially end a state of emergency established after last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, according to the national broadcaster, NHK. The state of emergency was originally established to enable the government to implement the most expedient response to the catastrophe, which was followed by the Fukushima nuclear plant’s catastrophic meltdown.

The revised law formally ends the state of emergency on September 11, but it’s not immediately clear what new measures the government will adopt. “We will actively discuss ways to dispose of the nuclear fuel at Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima plant, including power restoration, the changing law and ensuring safety of humans and the environment,” said Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.

According to the government, the situation at the Fukushima plant was deemed safe in May, but “radioactive exposure is still possible,” a ministry official told the Guardian.

Japan remains on alert for another potential disaster, one on a scale roughly similar to last year’s. Meteorologists are warning about an “imminent” earthquake likely to strike southwestern Japan around midday Thursday. Earlier this week, the Meteorological Agency put the magnitude at 8.0 to 8.5, although on Thursday a Shonan town official told reporters that the likely magnitude would be eight or nine.

The villages of Minamisanriku and Natori, the two closest to the Fukushima plant, were ordered to evacuate to higher ground, while residents in hundreds of others communities were advised to take evacuation orders seriously. Two major highways were closed in the affected area in an effort to prevent accidents, including one that runs under the port of Minamisanriku, which was the subject of a lethal tsunami in 2011.

Read the full story at the Guardian.

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