Japanese nuclear plant briefly switches to emergency power after quake paralyzes Hokkaido

Tomari nuclear plant on the island of Hokkaido has suffered main power outage and was forced to briefly switch to emergency generators following the 6.7 earthquake, Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

Emergency diesel generators were activated to supply electricity to maintain cooling of nuclear fuel rods in the pool. Since the plant is undergoing a safety review by the Regulatory Committee, no nuclear fuel was present inside the station’s three reactors at the time of the incident.

While authorities said the emergency power source would be enough to support operations for at least seven days, outside electricity supply was returned to the station roughly nine hours after the quake. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, power supply to all three units at the plant was by 1 pm local time, HNK reports.

Earlier, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that no leaks, temperature increase or any other irregularities were recorded at the plant operated by Hokkaido Electric Power. Other Japan’s nuclear facilities outside the island also reported no abnormalities.

While authorities continue to monitor the situation on the island’s only nuclear power plant, which has been in shutdown since the Fukushima disaster, Hokkaido Electric announced that it was forced to halt all of its power generating plants, which left 2.95 million customers without power. Authorities believe it could take up to a week to fully restore power on the island.

The blackout and landslides, triggered by the quake, paralyzed the island. The New Chitose Airport halted its operations, and railway service on the Hokkaido island has also been disrupted. Powerful tremors caused significant destruction and infrastructure damage in the region. Over 140 people were injured, while dozens more feared missing under collapsed structures. Search and rescue efforts continue with the help of some 25,000 SDF servicemen.

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