New quake rattles eastern Japan

A fresh tremor measuring 6.1 jolted eastern Japan on Saturday, but no major damage was reported, Kyodo news said.

Officials say that the tremor, one of the strongest so far in a series of aftershocks from last Friday’s massive 9.0-magitude earthquake, has not affected nuclear facilities in Ibaraki prefecture, which borders on tsunami-devastated Fukushima prefecture.

Chief government spokesman Yukio Edano said the situation at troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was “stabilizing,” as engineers are expected to restore power to cooling systems at four of the plant’s six reactors by the end of Saturday.

Firefighters are desperately trying to cool the overheated fuel rods in an attempt to avert nuclear fallout.

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency earlier said a cooling pump at reactor 5 and an emergency diesel generator at reactor 6 had “resumed operations.”

The crisis was prompted by last week’s quake and subsequent tsunami that have left over 17,000 people dead or missing.


MOSCOW, March 19 (RIA Novosti)

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