Japan assesses earthquake damage near Fukushima


Japan began assessing the damage and restoring power after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Fukushima on Saturday night, injuring around 150 people and temporarily cutting off power to nearly a million homes.

No deaths were reported, according to public broadcaster NHK, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on Sunday that no reactor incidents were reported. Six coal and gas power units, with a combined capacity of around 3.6 gigawatts, are offline due to the earthquake without a schedule to restart, according to the Japan Electric Power Exchange.

JAPAN-EARTHQUAKE

Damage caused by a landslide at the Ebisu race track in Fukushima prefecture on February 14.

Photographer: Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images

The mighty tremor, which was He felt in Tokyo, it occurred just a month before the 10th anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused the collapse of three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and left some 19,000 people dead or missing. The last tremor was an aftershock from the 2011 earthquake, according to Japan’s national meteorologist.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said there was a minor overflow of water from the pool that stores used atomic fuel at the Fukushima nuclear plants, but no uncontrolled radiation was detected, NHK reported. Suga said on Monday that 12 people were seriously injured by the earthquake and 141 were slightly injured.

Other affected businesses include:

  • Mitsui Chemicals Inc. said its Ichihara plant, which includes a naphtha cracker, in Chiba was closed due to a court. It would take about 10 days to restart the plant.
  • ENEOS Holdings Inc. said it temporarily suspended the Sendai refinery, while some units at the Negishi refinery were halted.
  • Idemitsu Kosan Co. said the sole crude distillation unit and some secondary units at the Chiba refinery were shut down due to power. court after the earthquake. Some secondary units were also closed at the Keihin refinery operated by Idemitsu’s Toa Oil Co.
  • Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. closed its Soma LNG import terminal, which supplies a nearby gas-fired power plant, and is checking for any potential damage. Japex did not provide a timeline to restart.
  • JFE Steel’s factory in Miyagi prefecture remains closed after the earthquake, while Nippon Steel Corp. said all its production facilities were operating normally on Sunday.
  • Murata Manufacturing Co. temporarily suspended operations at its Fukushima and Miyagi facilities, a spokesperson said. The plants handle batteries, filters, RF devices and other components and the shutdowns are not expected to last long.
  • Renesas Electronics Corp. stopped operations at its Ibaraki factory to inspect the building’s clean rooms.
  • East Japan Railway Co. said part of its local train and high-speed bullet services will remain suspended until Monday due to damage to power lines. The Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train line would need 10 days to resume full service, according to NHK.
  • East Nippon Expressway Co. said it closed a line connecting Fukushima and Miyagi due to a landslide.
  • Orocobre Ltd. said an initial inspection of the Naraha lithium hydroxide plant with construction contractor Veolia Jenets found minor damage to the site office, but found no visible defects in the plant’s equipment.

The quake Saturday night struck the Tohoku region, 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. More than 830,000 homes in the Tohoku and Kanto regions experienced power outages, but supplies resumed in most areas on Sunday morning.

The next day’s wholesale electricity prices for Tokyo rose nearly 3 times to about 14 yen per kilowatt hour on Sunday due to numerous outages at regional power plants. Rates fell 46% on Monday as traders expect more plants to resume operations, avoiding a supply crisis.

Average national spot energy prices fell 9.5% to 7.35 yen per kilowatt hour on Monday.

– With the assistance of Takashi Mochizuki, Stephen Stapczynski, Tsuyoshi Inajima and Masumi Suga

(Updates with closed steel plant in the fifth point and spot prices of energy in the last two paragraphs.)

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