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Hydropower safety concerns heighten after quakes
The Saigon Times Daily
Wednesday,  Sep 5, 2012,21:41 (GMT+7)

Hydropower safety concerns heighten after quakes

The Saigon Times Daily

By The SGT Daily staff  - The Saigon Times Daily

DANANG, HCMC – Five tremors with the strongest measured at 4.2 on the Richter scale near Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant in Quang Nam Province on Monday night have heightened concerns over the safety of the plant.

Tremors have continuously occurred in Bac Tra My District over the past two years and increased in intensity. Especially, no sooner have cracks and leaks on the hydropower dam been repaired than tremors occurred.

According to Vu Duc Toan, deputy director of the Hydropower Project Management Unit No. 3, investor of the hydropower plant, tremors happening from 7 p.m. to 10:20 p.m. on Monday night do not affect the dam, and the plant is still running normally. Data on these tremors recorded by the plant have been sent to the Institute of Geophysics for analysis. 

Speaking to the Daily, Dang Phong, chairman of Bac Tra My District, said that tremors on Monday night were stronger than previous ones and were even felt in neighboring districts, and people standing on the ground could feel strong shakes. 

According to Associate Professor Nguyen Hong Phuong from the institute, earthquake monitoring stations should be built in this area which can forecast and give precise warnings to local people.

Sharing the same opinion, Chairman Phong said that the district used to urge scientists to set up earthquake monitoring stations at the Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant but has yet to receive any responses.

A team of the provincial Department of Science and Technology on Tuesday visited the plant and worked with the district’s government. The department also proposed to set up five monitoring stations there to find out reasons behind earthquakes in Bac Tra My District to make forecasts and have appropriate responses.

According to Phong, the district on Tuesday morning worked with the Ministry of Construction on this issue. The district’s government at the meeting asked for a more careful and comprehensive inspection of the Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant in case there are any aftershocks like what had happened on Monday night.

Besides, the water storage at the hydropower reservoir needs to be reduced to avoid risks for over 30,000 people living in the downstream area of the Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant, according to the government of Bac Tra My District.

The State Department for Construction Quality Assessment has officially announced that the Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant is now safe after being repaired.

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