Evacuation advisory lifted for Japan volcano near nuclear plant

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 22, 2015 4:35 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's southwestern city of Kagoshima on Saturday lifted an evacuation advisory on three areas within a 3-km (two-mile) radius of an active volcano 50 km (30 miles) from the Sendai nuclear plant that restarted operations last week.

The reactor is the first to be restarted under new safety standards put in place since the meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011.

The operator, Kyushu Electric, said earlier this week that it was monitoring Sakurajima's activity but did not need to take any special precautions.

Sakurajima is one of Japan's most active volcanoes and erupts almost constantly but the Japan Meteorological Agency said the possibility of a large eruption, 990 km (615 miles) southwest of Tokyo, had decreased.

Japan lies on the "Ring of Fire" - a horseshoe-shaped band of fault lines and volcanoes around the edges of the Pacific Ocean.

Fears about the safety of nuclear power plants rose after the Fukushima disaster when an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant, 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, sparking triple nuclear meltdowns, forcing more than 160,000 residents to flee nearby towns and contaminating water, food and air in the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Nick Macfie)