A Japanese government panel consisting scientists and seismologists has warned that a 9.0 magnitude mega-earthquake was imminent around the Japan Trench and the Kuril Trench which are underwater fault zones that could trigger a gigantic 100 ft tsunami reports the Sun.
The panel said that tsunami could smash into Japan’s densely populated coastal areas endangering millions of lives.
One of the seismologists, Kenji Satake told the Mainichi newspaper that it was a matter of when and not if, adding that every 300 to 400 years a massive earthquake takes place with the last colossal tsunami hitting Japan in the 17th century making it plausible that a monster wave could strike soon.
The panel used a simulation based on an analysis of tsunamis of the past 6000 years and assumed the worst-case scenario warning that huge tidal waves could strike the east coast which includes the already decommissioned Fukushima nuclear power plant and seven prefectures including Hokkaido, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibarak, Aomori and Chiba. The panel predicted Iwate and Hokkaido to be worst-hit with a tsunami of nearly 100ft.
However, the most disturbing fact of all is that decommissioned Fukushima nuclear power plant is once again in the tsunami’s radar.
A spokesman for the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), which runs the plant said, the company is urgently evaluating the study and will analyse the projections and its impact on the continuous preventive action being undertaken against the tsunami.
Already the engineers at the plant are struggling to curb the release of radioactive material following the breakdown of three reactors in the aftermath of the tsunami that struck the plant in east Japan in 2011.
The operation is expected to take decades to complete. According to local news media reports, around 1000 tanks containing about a million ton of contaminated water since the plant broke down could be unleashed in the Pacific Ocean which could be a monumental environmental disaster.
Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that the latest government projection found that 9.0 magnitude quake could give rise to tidal waves well above 70ft or even more and would easily overwhelm the 36-ft seawall built by the company on the ocean side of the compound.
According to NPR, seismologist Kenji Satake, a University of Tokyo professor and head of the panel said that an earthquake of the magnitude suggested in the study would be difficult to tackle by developing hard infrastructure such as coast levees and opined that the most prudent option would be to save people by evacuation.
The researchers identified potential tsunami risks and mapped evidence of multiple ancient underwater landslides in the Makassar Strait between the islands of Borneo and Sulawesi which would be of particular interest to the Indonesian Government who planned last year to move their capital to Borneo island from Jakarta.
If an underwater landslide of the magnitude found by researchers in the past were to be repeated now, it would create tsunami capable of inundating Balikpapan Bay which is an area close to the proposed new Indonesian capital.
According to NPR, Dr Uisdean Nicholson from Heriot-Watt University said that there is still a lot of work to be done to properly assess the situation and this is something that the Indonesian government should have on a high priority.
The Fukushima disaster of 2011 left 1500 dead and is the second-worst nuclear accident in the history of nuclear power generation that forced the then Japanese Government to declare a 20 km radius around the site as evacuation with more than 154,000 people having to be evacuated.