March 13, 2011 / 2:39 PM / 8 years ago

Wind direction monitored near quake-hit Japan nuclear plant

TOKYO (Reuters) - The wind over Japan’s earthquake-damaged nuclear complex will remain blowing from the west during the night on Sunday, pushing any radioactivity toward the ocean, an official at Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), is located about 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo on the country’s northeast coast.

The direction of the wind is a key factor in judging possible damage to the environment from the radiation leaking from the plant, which was devastated on Friday by Japan’s biggest earthquake on record.

Earlier in the day, the wind was blowing from the south, raising concerns radioactivity could affect residential areas.

“The wind is expected to blow westerly during the night, in the direction where there are no residents,” the official said.

The wind speed will be around 2 to 3 meters per second, he said.

The plant was damaged by Friday’s 8.9 magnitude quake, which sent a 10-meter (33-foot) tsunami ripping through towns and cities across the northeast coast.

TEPCO said on Sunday that radiation levels at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have risen above the safety limit but said this posed no “immediate threat” to human health. An explosion blew the roof off at the plant’s No.1 reactor.

Reporting by Chikako Mogi; Editing by Chris Gallagher

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