Sunday, April 24, 2011

Japanese lesson: Info on quake history crucial to planning

wish to express my grititute to the New Strait Time Malaysia for editing my draft

Japanese lesson: Info on quake history crucial to planning
GOH HOE HOE, Kuala Lumpur

ACCORDING to a Japanese press report, a Japanese scientist had, in 2009, pointed to the possibility of a giant tsunami hitting the Pacific coast of the nation's Tohoku northeastern region, but the warning was not heeded by Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), which is now struggling to combat radiation leaks from its tsunami-hit nuclear power plant there.
According to the Jiji Press report, Yukinobu Okamura, chief of the Active Fault and Earthquake Research Centre of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), issued the warning in June 2009 at a meeting of a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry panel on earthquake safety at nuclear power plants.

Okamura had studied the 869 AD Jogan earthquake that jolted the Tohoku region and found that layers of sand driven by tsunami were found inland, including areas around Tepco's Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear reactor plants. He also said huge tsunamis had hit the region once every 450 to 800 years.

Okamura said tsunamis bigger than those anticipated by the power supplier could hit the Tohoku region.

Okamura urged the panel to review nuclear power plants' quake resistance in terms of tsunami. But Tepco argued that it was unnecessary to take the Jogan quake into account in the quake-proof design of nuclear power plants, as the quake occurred more than 1,100 years ago.

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan has given us two messages: monitoring of past earthquake incidents should be an integral part of any nuclear power plan programme, and historical records can provide important data and information vital to planning and development.

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