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Re: [cdn-nucl-l] Australian officials okay nuclear reactor despite earthquake concerns
When nuclear reactors power ice breakers, aircraft carriers and submarines,
why in the world are people so worried about the remote potential that the
earth could shake a little. I have spend days in pounding seas, earthquakes
(I guess I understand that there needs to be some provisions made for huge
plants with lots of long piping runs, but the article is about a tiny
research reactor, for goodness sake.)
Australian officials okay nuclear reactor despite earthquake concerns
Tue Oct 22, 7:26 AM ET
SYDNEY, Australia - Australia's nuclear watchdog said Tuesday it did not
believe earthquake (news - web sites) fault lines found under the site
of a new nuclear reactor being built in Sydney posed a problem and
ordered the project to continue.
Scientists discovered two fault lines in June during a routine
examination of the reactor's excavation site at Lucas Heights in
southwest Sydney, triggering calls for construction to stop.
The federal government ordered an investigation by the Australian
Nuclear Science and Technology Organization, or ANSTO, which issued a
report in September saying the last movement of the fault lines was
between 5 million to 13 million years ago.
After examining the report, the Australian Radiation Protection and
Nuclear Safety Agency said Tuesday it would allow construction of the
reactor to continue.
The agency's chief executive Dr. John Loy said the fault lines were
consistent with others in the Sydney region, including lines under the
Opera House and other buildings around the city's famous harbor.
"I find that the faulting on the site of the replacement research
reactor is not capable of resulting in surface displacement," Loy said
in a statement.
However, the local council said it was disappointed with the ruling.
Sutherland Shire Council Mayor Phil Blight said further investigation of
the fault line was needed.
"ANSTO's own seismic advisers recommended further assessment - this has
been disregarded. And we now have a new nuclear reactor under
construction in one of Sydney's fastest growing residential areas,
directly above an earthquake fault line," Blight said.
The government approved construction of the new 300 million Australian
dollar (US$165 million) reactor in April, despite protests about safety
from environmentalists and residents living nearby. The site is
currently being excavated and foundations laid.
The reactor will produce radioactive material for use in medicine and
research but will not generate power. It is being built near an aging
reactor at Lucas Heights that will be decommissioned once the new
reactor starts work in 2005.
Sydney has never been struck by a serious earthquake, but a strong 5.6
magnitude quake shook the city of Newcastle, 150 kilometers (90 miles)
to the north, in 1989, causing widespread damage and killing 13 people.