TOKYO — A powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami off the coast ofJapan early Tuesday, near where the nuclear power plant inFukushima was destroyed by a quake and tsunami in 2011.
Tuesday’s quake quickly triggered evacuation warnings along the coast that was ravaged just over five years ago.
The public broadcaster NHK exhorted residents of Fukushima Prefecture to leave coastal areas immediately. “Please move as far away from the shoreline as possible,” the announcer said.
“Please remember the Great East Japan Earthquake.”
A tsunami wave of about 55 inches hit the port of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture, and NHK said minor injuries had been reported. The first tsunami waves hit the coast at Onahama in Fukushima Prefecture at about 23 inches. No deaths were immediately reported.
The Japanese weather service reported a preliminary magnitude of 7.4 and issued a warning of a tsunami of about 10 feet. (The United States Geological Survey reported a lower magnitude, 6.9.)
The Tokyo Electric Company reported that a cooling system in a reactor at Fukushima Daini, a nuclear facility near the ruined Daiichi plant, had stopped but said there was enough water in the reactor to keep the spent fuel rods cool for now. But the utility later said the system had resumed operations after 90 minutes.
The Fukushima Daini power station, located about seven miles south of Daiichi, has not produced electricity since the 2011 calamity, in which it suffered earthquake damage. Most of Japan’s nuclear power plants have been shut down since soon after the disaster amid public concerns about their safety. Fukushima Daini’s reactors are turned off, but it still has uranium fuel in a storage pool that must be kept cool by pumping water through them.
Three reactors at the Daiichi plant melted down after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami five years ago. Since the 2011 disaster, Tepco has been cleaning up and has started the decommissioning process.
Sea waves in 2011 rose as high as 130 feet at Miyako in Iwate Prefecture, killing almost 16,000 people. An additional 2,500 were reported missing and never found.
The governments of New Zealand and Australia, on alert for possible effects from Tuesday’s tsunami, said there had been no impact reported in their countries. No damage was reported in the Philippines or Papua New Guinea either, according to Geoscience Australia.