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Over 10% of world N-plants at risk
Mon, 04 Apr 2011 04:29:30 GMT
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Smoke billowing from Japan's Fukushima power plant damaged in the recent tsunami
Scores of nuclear power plants worldwide are at risk from either tsunamis or earthquakes similar to the natural disasters that crippled Japan's Fukushima reactors, a new research shows.

Experts have warned that many at-risk plants are in countries less able to cope with a disaster than Japan, reported The Independent.

Seventy-six operating power stations in Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, India, Pakistan and the US are located in areas close to coastlines deemed vulnerable to tsunamis.

Of 442 nuclear power stations globally, more than one in 10 are situated in places deemed to be at high or extreme risk of earthquakes -- in Japan, the US, Taiwan, Armenia and Slovenia -- according to a new study by the analysts Maplecroft.

"Although Japanese nuclear facilities are particularly exposed, other countries could also face similar risks. South Korea, Taiwan, southern China, India, Pakistan and the west coast of the US have operating or planned nuclear facilities on tsunami-exposed coastlines, while nuclear sites in areas of high or extreme risk of earthquakes can be found in western US, Taiwan, Armenia, Iran and Slovenia," said one of Maplecroft's natural hazards analysts.

"Japan is one of the most advanced technological counties but one can see the problems they are having in coping with the aftermath. One fears for the reactors planned or operational in the environmentally unsafe areas of less technologically developed countries," a physicist said.

The risks of future natural disasters have been recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in recent years, which set up the International Seismic Safety Center in 2008.

Its safety guidelines on earthquakes and tsunamis are being revised following the incident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

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