Quake Threat Hanging Over Korean Dams

      June 20, 2011 09:50

      None of the control rooms or substations at Korea's 88 dams are resistant to earthquakes, while 185 major storage facilities for oil and gas appear vulnerable to the risk of earthquake-induced explosions, a government inspection revealed on Sunday.

      A team involving various government agencies, including the Prime Minister's Office, conducted a month-long inspection on the nation's major facilities such as dams and nuclear power plants in March. The results showed that a large number of oil and gas storage facilities have never been tested to ascertain if they would withstand the impact of a major quake.

      "If the control rooms and substations of the dams were rendered inoperative because of an earthquake, the floodgates would not be able to open or close, which would lead to massive flood damage," a government source said. The government report indicates a total of 733 problems associated with the inspected facilities.

      The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said it plans to renovate the nation's dams to make them earthquake-proof and revamp the control rooms and substations of 500 large reservoirs near civilian homes.

      Meanwhile, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy will soon begin a series of tests to determine whether the country’s aging oil and gas storage facilities can survive the impact of a quake.

      "They are designed to withstand temblors, but most of the facilities are old and they have not been inspected properly," an official with the National Emergency Management Agency said.

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