At fault on the Nu River

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As China gears up for a hydropower push in its earthquake-prone south-west, it should pause to consider events in Japan, two geologists tell Liu Jianqiang on World Water Day.

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With the ongoing crisis at its earthquake-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan is paying a heavy price for ignoring “large-scale environmental evaluations”. This is the assessment of two prominent Chinese geologists, Xu Daoyi and Sun Wenpeng, who told chinadialogue that the incident holds important lessons for China.

The two experts argue that the Japanese authorities underestimated the potential impact of deep-ocean faults and earthquakes on power plants. As a result, they failed to locate their atomic energy facilities on the country’s less vulnerable west coast and, ultimately, to avoid the radiation crisis the world has watched unfold over the past week.

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