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Quake-hit reservoir needs new checks

Update: September, 22/2012 - 10:06

HA NOI  (VNS)— Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has instructed that the Song Tranh 2 Hydro Power Plant, which was hit by an earthquake earlier this week, should not put its water reservoirs back into operation at this time despite assurances from professionals that it would be safe to do so.

Five tremors were reported to have hit the plant on Monday and Tuesday, causing panic among the local people and raising concern from experts.

Hai's decision not to re-open the reservoirs came after his meeting with scientists, experts and local authorities in Ha Noi yesterday. He said the final decision had been based on the unpredictability of the weather and geology should earthquakes strike again in the Bac Tra My District of the central province of Quang Nam, where the plant is located.

"This is the first ever case where a plant in the construction sector is facing a risk of natural disaster, so we need to consider the issue very carefully," the Deputy PM stressed.

"Everything must be done to ensure the safety of the people and the plant," he added.

Hai also urged relevant scientific agencies, ministries and sectors to hire foreign organisations and individuals to continue checking and evaluating the impact of the earthquakes on the plant, especially now that the flood season is ongoing.

He said that a final decision on the re-operation of the water reservoirs would only be made when an official and comprehensive evaluation was completed.

Reports delivered at the meeting said that the plant had been regularly checked by the Construction Ministry's State Authority for Construction Quality Inspection since 2007.

Inspection work so far has confirmed that the plant was built correctly to the design and is safe from earthquakes that measured up to 5.5 on the Richter scale.

An inspection group headed by the district's Steering Committee for Storm and Flood Prevention and Control was established immediately after the recent tremors in order to check on any damage to the plant. — VNS

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