Japan Issues Volcano Alert, Nuclear Threat Looms


Tokyo: Rocked by the Fukushima disaster, nuclear threat is again looming on the country as authorities issued a volcano alert barely within a 50 kilometer radius of the recently opened Sendai nuclear plant.

Japan’s weather agency issued a warning to thousands of residents in Kagoshima that the likelihood of the eruption of a nearby volcano was extremely high. Officials have raised their alert to its second highest level after it detected a spike in seismic activity in a volcano on Saturday near the offshore volcano Sakurajima, Agency France Presse reported.

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They have warned an evacuation of the city of just over 600,000 people may be necessary. The Japanese Meteorological Agency said: “The possibility for a large-scale eruption has become extremely high for Sakurajima.” It warned residents to exercise “strict caution” and prepare for evacuation. Critics had warned that the reopening of the Sendai plant, the first in Japan’s renewed nuclear programme, was premature and Japan’s nuclear reactors are still vulnerable to natural disaster.

Japan is on the so called “Ring of Fire” along the Earth’s tectonic plates where earthquakes and volcanos are thought to be more common. According to the agency there are more than 100 active volcanoes in Japan making it one of the most seismological volatile places on earth. The last major eruption of Sakurajima was in 2013 where an estimated 63 people were killed.