(March 24, 2011) China Dialogue recently ran this article arguing that damming the Nu could have earth shattering consequences.
At fault on the Nu River
China Dialogue, March 22, 2011
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.
“You could say Japan is on the side of a knife, while the Nu River is on the blade.”
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.
There are worrying parallels in China, said Xu and Sun. But rather than focusing on the nuclear industry, their gripe is with their country’s hydropower sector – and, more specifically, the controversial plans to build a cascade of dams on the Nu River, China’s last great waterway without large-scale hydropower and the focus of an animated public campaign.