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Fire at nuclear reactor after quake in Japan

A fire broke out at a nuclear power plant in central Japan today after a strong earthquake but there was no apparent risk of radiation leaks.

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TOKYO: A fire broke out at a nuclear power plant in central Japan today after a strong earthquake but there was no apparent risk of radiation leaks, officials said.
       
Television footage showed smoke billowing into the air from the power plant in the Kashiwazaki, close to the epicentre of the 6.6 Richter-scale earthquake in Niigata
prefecture.
       
Tokyo Electric, which runs the plant, said the fire occurred at an area supplying electricity to the facility's four reactors. The nuclear reactors themselves were automatically shut down by the quake.
       
"The fire occurred at a transformer, which is not located close to the reactors," said Yasushi Hasegawa, an official of the firm. "We are now putting out the fire, but there is no immediate fear of radiation leakage."
       
Japan, which has the world's second largest economy but virtually no natural energy resources, relies on nuclear plants for 30 per cent of its power needs.
       
But a string of accidents have triggered fears among the general public and opposition to the construction of new nuclear power plants.
       
Japan is also particularly sensitive about nuclear accidents as it is the only country to have suffered atomic attack.
       
Today's earthquake caused houses to collapse, triggered small tsunami waves and shook buildings as far away as Tokyo.
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