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Quakes at Song Tranh pose danger to people's lives
  • By Pham Thanh | | October 04, 2012 06:29 PM
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Experts worried over the risks posed by a dam break at Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant discussed the issue at a conference.

 Quakes at the Song Tranh 2 Plant seriously threatens local lives

At the conference that assessed the earthquakes affecting the Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant, experts from Vietnam Institute of Geophysics and Vietnamese Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (VSSMGE) expressed their concerns over a worst case scenario.

Song Tranh hydropower dam could break if an earthquake exceeds 5.1 on the Richter scale.

Prof. Cao Dinh Trieu, expert at Vietnam Institute of Geophysics said the Song Tranh Hydropower Plant was located on weak ground consisting mostly of granite pieces.

Pham Van Quynh, member of the scientific council for the project said the situation was very dangerous because granite will soften when it meets water. The location had never had quake before storing water for the plant.

But now the quakes appear more often and are stronger. Moreover, the location of the plant is also affected by a fracture zone in Tra My which is 6-7km long and 10-30km wide. Trieu also said Song Tranh 2 could repeat the Banqiao Reservoir Dam disaster in China in 1975 which caused the worst dam failure in the world.

"Obviously, a seriously bad decision was taken in choosing this location to build the dam. Although the water storage level is at 140m, a 4.2 Richter quake has already happened. If the plant continues to store water to 172m, there's possibility that a strong earthquake might occur. Investors in the Song Tranh 2 Plant must take full responsibility." Quynh said.

Vu Trong Hong, President of the Vietnam Water Resource Association said since Vietnam doesn't have experts on earthquakes, water should not be stored at Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant.

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