Japan's Sakurajima volcano erupts just 50 km away from nuclear plant

Lightning flashes above flowing lava as Sakurajima a well-known volcano erupts Friday evening in southern Japan. Japan's Meteorological Agency said Sakurajima on the island of Kyushu erupted at around 7 p.m.. JAPAN OUT CR

Sakurajima, one of Japan's most active volcanos, erupted spectacularly Friday evening with a fiery blast that sent lava rolling down its slope in Kagoshima Prefecture on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu.

Earlier today, a volcano near the city of Kagoshima in Japan erupted, spewing lava and hurtling rocks almost 3km away.

Sakurajima has been monitored by JMA researchers since August 2015 when they had to issue a level 4 warning, meaning people should be ready to move out the area any time but since then it has gone back to level 3. Although there were no reported injuries, the Meteorological Service of Japan cordoned off the place and expanded an existing no-entry 2-kilometre radius zone.

Despite looking intense, experts consider the latest eruption "average" compared to the Sakurajima eruptions in the past. Television footage of the eruption is also available wherein red streams of lava bursting from the side of the mountain is being shown.

Volcanologist Kazuhiro Ishihara of Kyoto University predicted no serious impact from the explosion.

"But of course we must keep monitoring the volcanic activity".

A spokeswoman for Kyushu Electric said there was no impact from the eruption on the plant and its operations, and it was not taking any special precautions.

Sakurajima is a highly active volcano, with some 700 eruptions last year, the most having occurred in September last year. This section of the ocean is renowned for its string of volcanic belts and arcs, oceanic trenches, and plate movements.

The smoke billowing out from the crater of smoke and rocks from the crater could be seen in the video of the eruption, including lava oozing down Sakurajima's slopes. The 2014 eruption of Mount Ontake in central Japan killed 57 people.

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