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Earthquakes caused central Vietnam hydropower plant leakage: investor

By Vo Thanh   January 6, 2021 | 05:00 am PT
Earthquakes caused central Vietnam hydropower plant leakage: investor
A talus above the A Luoi hydropower plant collapsed due to a broken water pipe in Thua Thien-Hue Province, January 1, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quang Tien.
A water leakage that shut down a hydropower plant in central Thua Thien-Hue Province last week was connected to a series of earthquakes and seismic events since 2012.

The A Luoi hydropower plant in the province’s A Luoi District was operating at around 8:40 a.m. on Jan. 1 when a broken water pipe, running 11 kilometers from a reservoir, sent mud and rocks from a talus down onto the plant, flooding it and forcing it to cease operations. There were no human casualties.

In a report sent to Thua Thien-Hue People’s Committee on Wednesday, the Central Hydropower JSC, the plant's investor, stated a check under a steel-plated tunnel running below the plant revealed cracks in the pipe. The locations where the cracks were observed were all situated within a layer of shale.

Since the plant commenced operations in 2012, around 60 earthquakes and seismic events were observed in the area, with the biggest at 4.7 on the Richter scale occurring on May 15, 2014 with its epicenter located around 4.9 kilometers to the north-northeast of the plant. The most recent seismic event nearby took place on Dec. 25, 2020.

Earthquakes and seismic events might have shifted the many layers of rocks in the area, affecting the stability and welding joints of the water pipe, which may have caused the leakage, it was further suggested.

The 170 MW hydropower plant is still not producing electricity as of Wednesday. It is expected to resume operations next month.

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