FIRST it was an earthquake. Then it was a tsunami. Now Japan fears another nuclear disaster — this time because of a stirring volcano.
The Japan Times has reported a sleeping volcano next to its already damaged Sendai nuclear power facility has woken, and is beginning to shake.
The new activity comes barely a month after the sudden and unexpected eruption of Mount Ontake killed 57 hikers enjoying its until-then scenic slopes.
Volcanologists have warned that the enormous magnitude 9.0 earthquake of March 2011 may have increased the likelihood of volcanic activity throughout Japan — which sits on the “Ring of Fire” band of more than 100 volcanoes which forms the Pacific Rim.
Now the signs appear to be proving them right.
The waking of Mount Ioyama on the island of Kyushu comes after a recent warning from a prominent Japanese volcanologist about the Sendai nuclear plant’s vulnerability.
A cauldron eruption at one of several volcanoes surrounding the Sendai nuclear power plant could hit the reactors and cause a nationwide disaster, said Toshitsugu Fujii, head of a government-commissioned panel on volcanic eruption prediction.
Mount Ioyama sits virtually next door to the power plant. In recent weeks it has started experiencing tremors, the Japanese Metrological Agency’s volcano bureau says.
The implications for restarting the repaired Sendai nuclear power plant are serious.
Continue reading and watching the video at Ioyama volcano raises fears Japan’s Sendai nuclear power facility may be at risk
Magma eruptions have occurred twice on Mount Ioyama since the 14th century. Mount Ioyama is located about 5 kilometers northwest of Mount Shinmoedake, which had a magma eruption in 2011, the first in 300 years. The warning comes almost one month after Mount Ontakesan straddling Nagano and Gifu prectures erupted, claiming at least 57 lives, making it Japan’s worst postwar volcanic disaster.