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Taipower says 3rd nuclear plant is not near Hengchun Fault

2013/05/06 22:53:54

Taipei, May 6 (CNA) A geological survey showed that the Hengchun Fault in Pingtung County is located outside the third nuclear power plant in Ma-anshan in the southernmost county and the core samples taken from the fault zone did not show a fault plane, the Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) said Monday in a press release.

Taipower was rebutting previous reports that the Henchun Fault line is near the plant and added that it will continue carrying out geological surveys on newly gathered evidence and conducting assessment and reinforcement of seismic resistance.

Chen Wen-shan, a professor of the Department of Geology at National Taiwan University, said that the Hengchun Fault may have extended to the north in Fenggang in Pingtung by a stretch of more than 50 kilometers.

An earthquake exceeding magnitude 7 could hit Hengchun and if the epicenter was in the Hengchun Fault line, the earthquake shaking level would definitely exceed the anti-earthquake design for the third nuclear power plant.

According to the Taipower press release, the geological survey showed that the Hengchun Fault line is situated in between the Central Range and the Hengchun Valley, about 1.1 kilometers away from the third nuclear power plant zone.

The company said the geological survey report showed that the fault extends for a distance of 41 kilometers, a difference from the over 50 kilometers previously estimated by Chen.

The survey report was submitted to the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) in November 2012 for review.

Taipower said that according to the seismic and geologic siting criteria for power plants set up by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a capable fault is a fault which has exhibited the characteristics of movement at or near the ground surface at least once within the past 35,000 years or movement of a recurring nature within the past 500,000 years.

The fault has been classed as an active fault of the second category.

AEC Deputy Minister Chou Yuan-ching said that if there is scientific evidence proving that the length of the fault line is longer than 41 kilometers, it will ask Taipower to continue doing surveys.

(By Lin Meng-ju and Y.L. Kao)