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Study fails to find source of Vietnam earthquakes in Quang Nam Province

A study conducted to determine the cause of recent earthquakes near Vietnam's 190-MW Song Tranh 2 hydroelectric project is inconclusive, HydroWorld.com has learned.

HydroWorld.com reported earlier this week that representatives from the Vietnam Institute of Science and Technology, Institute of Global Physics, and Earthquake Information and Tsunami Warning Center were working to explain the increased seismic activity in Vietnam's Quang Nam Province.

An earthquake registering 4.2 on the Richter scale was recorded September 3, followed by more tremors through the week.

One scientist says more than 60 tremors have occurred in the area since 2011, although only a dozen have been recorded due to a lack of observation and measurement equipment.

The study says the plant's operator, Electricity Vietnam Group (EVN), has four accelerometers installed at Song Tranh 2, though only two are operational.

Even those that are operational don't measure or forecast earthquakes in a manner that could be of scientific use, says Nguyen Hong Phuong of the Earthquake Information and Tsunami Warning Center.

Such uncertainty is causing fear amongst those in the Bac Tra My district, where the dam and the 730 million cubic meters of water the dam impounds are located.

EVN officials say the dam can withstand an earthquake of up to 5.5 on the Richter scale, although local officials want more guarantees.

"With responsibility to the 1.5 million people in Quang Nam, we firmly suggest that if Song Tranh dam is unsafe, it should not accumulate water," says Tran Xuan Tho, member of the Standing Committee of the People's Committee of Bac Tra My District.

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