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5.3-magnitude earthquake hits Japan’s Fukushima

DENVER: A 5.3-magnitude earthquake has hit the Japanese prefecture that is home to the nuclear power plant crippled in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck early Friday at a depth of about 13 miles (22 kilometers) under Fukushima Prefecture and about 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue an alert.

The Japanese news agency Kyodo News reported that the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., observed no abnormality in radiation or equipment after the quake.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday ordered TEPCO to scrap all six reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant and concentrate on tackling pressing issues like leaks of radioactive water.

The 2011 disaster caused three reactors to melt and damaged a fuel cooling pool at another. Officials have acknowledged that radiation-contaminated groundwater has been seeping into the Pacific Ocean since soon after the meltdowns.

The region lies on the “Ring of Fire” — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim. About 90 percent of the world’s quakes occur in the region. /AP

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