Earthquake shakes Taiwan
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake shook southeastern Taiwan early saturday, the Central Weather Bureau said. No major damage was reported as of press time.
The epicenter of the earthquake was at sea, about 33.6km east of Taitung County Hall at a depth of 18.4km, the bureau said, adding that the earthquake at 4:06am produced intensity readings of five in eastern Taiwan on the nation’s zero-to-seven seismic intensity scale.
The quake was felt in Kaohsiung with an intensity of between three and four, prompting alarmed netizens to post messages online expressing alarm and warning people to be cautious.
As saturday was Valentine’s Day, some netizens dubbed the quake the “Valentine’s Day limited edition.”
Meanwhile, the strength of the quake felt in Pingtung County gave rise to concern over the county’s Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant, as in 2006 a magnitude 7.1 earthquake triggered the emergency shutdown of its No. 2 reactor.
In response to these concerns, state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) officials said the intensity of yesterday’s earthquake was not enough to bring about a shutdown.
Seven seismic instruments were installed at the plant in the wake of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster in Japan and an emergency shutdown would be automatically triggered if the instruments register peak ground acceleration (PGA) exceeding 0.2g, the officials said, adding that yesterday’s quake only registered a PGA of 0.0136g and did not have any affect on the plant’s operations.
However, the seismic instruments recorded a PGAof 0.175g during the 2006 earthquake, making it the largest motion registered since recording commenced at the site, Taipower officials said.
Plant staff inspected all the in-plant facilities following standard operating procedures soon after the seismic instruments had registered ground motion, the officials said, adding that no damage or anomaly was found.
The generating systems did not falter and both reactors in the plant have been operating at full capacity, according to the officials.
The plant was originally designed to operate under 0.4g PGA — equivalent to a magnitude 8 earthquake — however, a NT$100 million (US$3.1 million) reinforcement project completed last year makes the plant able to operate under 0.72g PGA, Taipower officials said, adding that the reinforcement included installation of connecting bolts, replacement and enlargement of infrastructural steel plates, and augmentation of pile-supported foundations for storage tanks.
In related news, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said a total of 36 train services were delayed as of 9:30am due to earthquake, adding that the delays affected nearly 3,000 passengers