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Japan: Probable eruption of volcano near restarted nuclear plant

Mount Sakurajima, 990 kilometers south-west of Tokyo, is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes, erupting almost constantly. Officials are saying a larger eruption than normal is expected, according to the Japan Times.

The warning alert was raised to its second highest level Saturday morning after meteorologists began picking up increasing seismic activity. The volcano sits just off the coast of Kagoshima, a city of more than 600,000 people.

“There is the danger that stones could rain down on areas near the mountain’s base, so we are warning residents of those areas to be ready to evacuate if needed,” the official added. The warning level has been set at “4.” meaning “prepare to evacuate.”

There is growing concern about the possible eruption of the volcano by nuclear power critics. The Sendai nuclear power plant’s reactor No. 1 was restarted last week, the first reactor to go back online since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Sendai power plant is only 31 miles away from 1,119 meters high Mount Sakurajima and is located very near five giant calderas, crater-like depressions left from long-ago past volcanic eruptions. Still, the Nuclear Regulation Authority is saying there is only a negligible chance of major volcanic activity around the Sendai plant.

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