A number of big earthquakes have been hitting Kumamoto and Oita, the middle part of Kyushyu, for the past 2 days. So far, 37 people were killed while more than 1,000 were injured. They say 70,000 have been evacuated. This event has reminded me of my experience with the big earthquake 5 years ago when we had to spend a few days without any life line. I know they are in much tougher situation. Imagining what anxiety and pain they have right now, from the bottom of my heart, I hope it would be calmed down soon.
Kumamoto is isolated in a sense since logistics transportation is blocked due to the damages on roads, railways, airports and so forth. The long lasting hit seems also to annoy the people there. It may take them pretty long time to recover from this disaster. But I believe they will do.
The seismologists say those earthquakes have occured on two different active faults there. Since 3 tectonic plates are colliding with each other in our country, there are so many active faults, which have caused big earthquakes at certain interval. The active faults already found are counted up to 2,000. There should be even more not found yet. The earthquakes occurring at present seem to be along the Median Tectonic Line, which traverses the Eastern Japan from south west to north east. The great Hanshin earthquake in Kobe and adjascent areas in 1995 may be regarded also along this tectonic line and should be regarded as a series of crustal movements. It is just my impression. Anyway, we should be aware our country or even earth itself is in the era of crustal activity now.
Eathquake is a hard experience but hits only once. But it is not the case with nuclear power plant accidents. We have learned that from the tragedy in Fukushima 5 years ago. It is still going on now. Along the Median Tectonic Line, east of the area hit by the present earthquakes, there is a nuclear power plant named Ikata in Shikoku island. There could be another big earthquake occurring around the Ikata nuclear power plant. If it happens, a serious grave scenario will start there.
As told above, there are so many active faults running all around our country that the other nuclear power plants, 54 in total, could be damaged by big earthquakes or tsunamis. There is a small gulf named Wakasa Wan north of Kyoto, only tens of miles in distance from that crowded area of Kansai. That gulf has 14 nuclear power plants in a radius of 20 miles or less. If they should be hit by the natural disaster and fall in serious accident, Kansai area is totally disabled. It means our country won't be able to go on as it would now.
Is it a too pessimistic scenario? Since we have experienced the accident in Fukushima, I could never believe so. We should learn from that experience. Nuclear power plant accidents won't be transient but last almost endlessly.