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Japan says earthquake shook nuclear plant past safety limits

The deadly earthquake that rocked Japan on New Year’s Day shook a nuclear power plant beyond established safety levels, according to a report by Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority.

The authority said that the buildings at the Shika nuclear power plant on the Noto Peninsula were made to sustain shaking measured at 918 Galileo units, but the Jan. 1 earthquake produced 957 Galileo units of shaking.


The authority and Hokuriku Electric Power Co., which run the plants, however, said both units of the plant were already offline before the earthquake and no significant damage was reported to the facility.

While no problems have been reported at the plant’s physical structure or its operation a week later, authority head Shinsuke Yamanaka said the results must be “factored in” and safety nuclear power plant safety standards upgraded.

The plant, located in Shika in the Ishikawa Prefecture, took the brunt of the devastating 7.6-magnitude earthquake that has claimed more than 200 lives so far.

Officials said that in a second offline nuclear facility, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture, the shaking was well below the authority’s safety levels.

The Hokuriku plant, though, did suffer an electrical transformer breakdown at the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors that partially prevented them from receiving power from the outside.

Source: UPI