Korean Nuclear Plants Operate Through 5.4-Magnitude Quake

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake jolted South Korea on Wednesday, causing injuries and damage to buildings, but did not affect operations at the country's 28 operating nuclear power plants.

Kori NPPThe quake struck about four miles offshore slightly north of the city of Pohang at close to 2:30 p.m. But it was felt 190 miles away in Seoul, the country's inland capital, according to Yonhap.

The quake was followed by at least 18 after-shock ripples. But Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power said the six reactor plant in Gyeongju, the closest to the epicenter, continued to function normally, as did their other reactors. The plant at Gyeongju is about 30 miles from Pohang.

All reactors, including those in Gyeongju, are operating normally without power shutdown or decreased power output,” the company said in a statement. “Although there is no breakdown in facilities or radiation leakage, we will conduct and in-depth inspection and release the results later.”

Korea is not as earthquake prone as Japan, which suffered a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in March 2011, which did not harm the country's nuclear power plants, although the tsunami wave that followed knocked out backup power at the Fukushima Daiichi Generating Station, which lead to a triple-reactor meltdown at the plant. The two countries are often said to be 500 miles apart, but the shortest distance between the two -- the width of the Korean Strait -- is 120 miles.

A 5 magnitude earthquake is considered moderate, while a 6 magnitude event is considered strong. A 5.4 magnitude quake, obviously, falls in between those general descriptions.

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