Nuke plant tsunami risk evaluated

Sept. 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM

MADRID, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The tsunami in Japan that triggered the March 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima is prompting a closer look at global nuclear risks, scientists said.

Researchers in Europe say an evaluation of historical, archaeological, geological and instrumental records suggests 23 nuclear power plants housing 74 reactors in east and southeast Asia are at risk of damage from a tsunami.

The findings were published in the journal Natural Hazards.

"We are dealing with the first vision of the global distribution of civil nuclear power plants situated on the coast and exposed to tsunamis," said Jose Manuel Rodriguez-Llanes, a researcher at the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.

The Fukushima disaster occurred in a highly developed country with one of the highest standards in scientific knowledge and technological infrastructure, researchers said.

"If it had occurred in a country less equipped for dealing with the consequences of catastrophe, the impact would have been a lot more serious for the world at large," the study said.

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