Nuke safety tightened as storm surges near coast

Updated: 2011-06-23 08:23
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BEIJING - Marine disaster warning measures will be tightened for nuclear plants and other key projects in China's coastal areas, as three to four typhoon-triggered storm surges are predicted to hit the country's southeastern coast this year.

The estimate was based on historical records of storm surges in China's coastal areas and analyses of recent climate conditions, said Dong Jianxi, a chief forecaster at the National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center (NMEFC).

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Dong said the center will provide forecast service as precise as possible to ensure the safety of coastal nuclear power plants.

A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated with a low pressure weather system, typically tropical cyclones and strong extratropical cyclones. These storms cause high winds that batter the ocean's surface, creating massive waves.

The storm surges will likely result casualties and property loss, experts said, adding that eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Fujian, as well as Guangdong and Hainan provinces in the south, will be hit hard by the storm surges.

These regions are the home to China's major economic zones, including the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and the West Strait Economic District.

"Storm surges are the most destructive type of marine disasters to hit China's coastal areas," said Yu Fujiang, the NMEFC's deputy director.

"Data shows that storm surges have been increasing in China since 1949. While there have been no major storm surges in China in the past decade, serious ones will possibly occur over the next decade," Yu said.