New study warns 9.0 magnitude earthquakes could strike off coasts of Pakistan, Iran, and India #MUSTSHARE


 

Charu Sudan Kasturi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 15, 2013

First Published: 00:51 IST(15/5/2013) | Last Updated: 00:54 IST(15/5/2013)

India’s west coast is far more vulnerable to monster earthquakes and tsunamis than believed till now, scientists have said in dramatic new findings that could force a rethink on the country’s preparedness for natural disasters on a coastline that hosts its biggest nuclear reactor.

Undersea earthquakes as strong as the 2004 Sumatra temblor that spawned a tsunami killing over 220,000 could also strike under the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Pakistan and Iran, striking those countries, India, Oman and further inland, a team of British and Canadian scientists has said.

India’s Arabian Sea coast is home to the 1400 MW Tarapur Power Station near Mumbai, India’s largest operational nuclear plant that in 2011 was also identified by a government expert panel as the least prepared of the country’s atomic power complexes to handle a scenario like the one at Fukushima in Japan in 2011.

The country is also in the process of setting up a 10,000 MW nuclear power complex at Jaitapur that has faced local opposition.

But though the subduction zone – where tectonic plates meet – to India’s west, near Makran along the Pakistan-Iran border is closer to India than the one to the east that was the epicentre of the 2004 tremors, the Arabian Sea has long been considered less vulnerable to large earthquakes and tsunamis.

Unlike the Pacific Ocean and the eastern Indian Ocean, where giant undersea earthquakes are common, the Makran region has been largely quiet after a 7.3 magnitude tremor in 1947.

That view may be dangerously complacent and incorrect, scientists at the University of Southampton, UK and the Canadian government’s Pacific Geoscience Centre have suggested in their research, published in reputed journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“The Makran subduction zone is potentially capable of producing major earthquakes, up to magnitude 8.7-9.2,” Gemma Smith, lead author and PhD student at Southampton said. “Past assumptions may have significantly underestimated the earthquake and tsunami hazard in this region.”

In 2004, an earthquake of magnitude 9 off the Indonesian coast triggered giant tsunami waves that reached as far as Africa, killing over 12,000 and forcing over 640,000 Indians to flee their homes according to government figures.

The tsunami waves devastated Indonesia, swept away locals and tourists on the pristine beaches of Thailand and Sri Lanka, and claimed lives as far away as Yemen, Somalia and South Africa. The Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam, on India’s eastern, Tamil Nadu coast, was partially flooded.

After the 2011 earthquake off the coast of Japan and the resulting tsunami that led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the worst nuclear incident since Chernobyl in 1986, India’s sole nuclear operator, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) conducted a safety audit of the country’s nuclear facilities.

The experts on the probe panel concluded that 18 of India’s 20 working nuclear reactors were capable of handling a Fukushima-like crisis – power outage stopping the plant’s cooling facilities and simultaneous flooding from sea water.

But the team found two reactors at Tarapur – first introduced in 1963 – that work on the same principles as the Fukushima reactors vulnerable to tsunami waves and large tremors.

NEWS FLASH- 1000s Arrested in Kalpakkam anti-nuke protests: Tamil Nadu


LATEST UPDATE

BY  nityanand jayaraman


Kalpakkam Protests; Kalpakkam Arrests

G. Sundar Rajan, a friend and co-activist, is currently travelling to Singaperumal Koil in Kanchipuram District to meet Abdul Samad — one of the organisers of the resistance to the expansion of nuclear capacity in Kalpakkam nuclear park. Samad is one of nearly 2000 people who have been detained in about six different locations for organising a hunger strike and blockade of the Kalpakkam nuclear complex. Villagers living in the areas surrounding the Madras Atomic Power Station are protesting against the expansion of the nuclear complex, and have said that they will not tolerate the addition of any new facilities in Kalpakkam. A 500 MW prototype fast breeder reactor has been under construction for nearly a decade, and villagers have said that this plant must be abandoned. They have also condemned the dumping of radioactive waste within the premises. Additionally, they have demanded that the entire share of electricity produced at the MAPS complex should be distributed to nearby villages. They pointed out that it is vulgar that the local villages suffer 10 hour shortages while Kalpakkam township, more than 10 kilometres away enjoys 24-hour electricity.

 

 

BREAKING NEWS- Anti-Sterlite Protestors Arrested en Mass in Thoothukudi


 

 

Update 12 noon:MARCH 28, 2013 

Reported by Nityanand Jayaraman

Speaking on phone from Chandra Mahal (a wedding hall) where more than 200 people are detained by the police, Fatima Babu — one of several organisers of the protest — said that the rally demanding Sterlite Copper’s closure was massively attended. At the time of her arrest at around 1145 a.m., at least 7 bus loads of people had been removed from the roads and taken to various locations for detention. The arrests were continuing as more and more people were joining the procession. According to Fatima Babu, by the time of her arrest, nearly 5000 people had gathered. Shops in Thoothukudi, including all vegetable markets, jewellery stores, provision and small stores, have downed their shutters responding to the call join to the strike demanding Sterlite’s closure. Lorry, autorickshaw, taxi and van drivers too stayed away from the roads in solidarity.”I cannot estimate the number of people that are part of the strike, because there are people as far as I can see, and more are coming,” said Maharajan, a party worker with Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK). MDMK’s leader is one of the political figures who gave a call for the rally demanding closure of the copper smelter. The strike has representation from the Conch Coolie (Divers) Association, Anna Bus Stand Autorickshaw Drivers Welfare Association, All India Drivers Welfare Association, Tamilnadu Merchants Federation (led by Vellaiyan), and Anna Bus Stand Taxi drivers Association.

 

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