Hanoi prepares for potential catastrophes caused by Chinese nuclear plants

A street in Hanoi is seriously flooded due to heavy rain in late 2008. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Hanoi authorities have launched preparations to mitigate the consequences of hypothetical radioactive leakage from Chinese nuclear plants, as well as other potential disasters such as dam failure, explosions, and urban railway accidents.

The municipal People’s Committee stated that disaster could strike the city if problems occur at any of three nuclear power plants in southeast China, including Fangchenggang in Guangxi, Changjiang in Hainan Province, and Yangjiang in Guangdong Province.

All are located within 500 kilometers of the Vietnamese capital.

In such a scenario, Hanoi and other northern Vietnam provinces would be severely impacted by the resulting air and water contamination.

The city’s administration has tasked the Department of Science and Technology, in coordination with relevant agencies, with establishing detailed scenarios of these disasters and preparing measures to prevent and minimize their consequences.

The request was submitted as part of a recently approved plan on envisaging, controlling, and mitigating the risk of large scale disaster in the Vietnamese capital.

According to experts, if certain dams broke, water levels in the Red River exceed 11.5 meters and cause serious flooding throughout the region, putting million of lives at risk.

In 1971, continuous downpours caused the Red River to reach 14.3 meters, resulting in the failure of three dams. Some 100,000 people lost their lives and over 2.7 million citizens suffered heavy financial damage in the disaster.

Extreme rainfall also inundated many areas of Hanoi in 2008, causing VND3 trillion (US$132 million) in damages.

The Hanoi People’s Committee also identified risks of fire, explosion, and collapse at degraded apartment buildings in the city.

Regarding the city’s urban railway system, a serious error could easily result in a high death toll.

Potential disasters may also occur at places and events with large crowds.

Efforts will be exerted to improve forecast ability and capacity of local search and rescue units.

By Duy Khang, Source: Tuoi Tre News