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Earthquake in Sichuan, China: Threat of Secondary Disasters Including Nuclear, Says South China Morning Post

Monday, April 22, 2013

From South China Morning Post (4/22/2013):

Aftershocks from Sichuan earthquake pose threat of secondary disasters

Authorities issue warnings amid potential for mudslides, damage to dams and nuclear plants

Secondary disasters such as mudslides and dam-related crises may occur in the days or even months after Saturday’s earthquake, threatening the safety of residents and rescuers, geologists warn.

Fan Xiao, chief engineer at the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau in Chengdu, said yesterday the banks along the Qingyi River, in one of the most geologically unstable regions of the province, had taken a big hit.

Known for its high mountains and deep valleys, the area was already unstable before the earthquake, with villages and roads sitting almost in the path of potential landslides, Fan said. And shockwaves from the earthquake could profoundly increase structural instability in the region.

“Residents and rescuers must be highly alert to the dangers of mudslides, especially after rain,” he said. “There will be lots of rain in the coming months.”

Sichuan is also known for its nuclear facilities, many of which are for military purposes. The China National Nuclear Power Corporation announced on its website that its nine nuclear facilities in Sichuan experienced various levels of shockwaves at the weekend, prompting safety checks. There had been no reports of leaking pipes or collapsed buildings at the facilities.

As of 6pm yesterday, the quake zone had experienced 1,642 aftershocks – the strongest with a magnitude of 5.4.

(Full article at the link)

Looking at the photo in the article (above), I do see the challenge for the rescue workers.

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) announced on April 21 that “Sichuan-based nuclear power facilities are safe and no abnormalities have been detected in environmental radiation monitoring following a 7.0-magnitude quake” (Xinhua, quoted by website).

(Hmmm. This too sounds very familiar.)

April 23, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Sichuan is almost certainly the province which also holds China’s nuclear waste dumps.

    Comment by Christina MacPherson | April 23, 2013 | Reply

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