The Construction of the Batang Toru Hydro Electric Power Plant (HEPP) Refers to Earthquake Risk Mitigation
05 March 2019 

Editor: EH Ismail

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, MEDAN - Batangtoru area in South Tapanuli, North Sumatra, is an earthquake zone area. This makes infrastructure development in the area still refers to earthquake risk mitigation.

Geologist of Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) Prof. T Abdullah Sanny said, the earthquake zone in the Batang Toru area does not mean there should be no infrastructure development. According to Abdullah, development can work as long as it has a comprehensive research study. The results of these studies serve as guidelines for determining the infrastructure model to build. This step aims to mitigate the risk of seismicity.

"It can be engineered. This means that it is necessary to know that the vibrations that will be caused by earthquakes on buildings by designing structures are appropriate," Abdullah told reporters in Medan on Monday (1/7). 

Related to the condition of Batangtoru in the earthquake zone, and in the area there will be a Hydro Electric Power Plant (HEPP). Lismawaty from the Association of Indonesian Geologists (IAGI) of  North Sumatra, who is also a lecturer in the Geological Engineering Study Program at the Medan Institute of Technology (ITM), stated, the construction site of the Batang Toru Hydro Electric Power Plant (HEPP) is no problem. As long as it fulfills all the requirements of the study that has been carried out, the Batangtoru project is assessed as a solution.

"I am very optimistic that various studies on seismicity that have also been carried out will make the Batang Toru Hydro Electric Power Plant (HEPP) a solution and not a problem," Lismawaty said in the discussion "Tectonic Dynamics & Potential Dangers of the Toru Segment Earthquake, especially Batang Toru Hydro Electric Power Station" in Medan .

On the same occasion, the expert of PT North Sumatra Hydro Energy (NSHE), Didiek Djawadi, said that the construction of a water reservoir for a power plant project was fully carried out by taking into account various studies and academic research. These studies cover studies related to the potential of earthquakes from various possible sources such as subduction zones, shallow crustal & background and zero zone.

"Everything is calculated based on the potential of all types of earthquake sources that are possible," he said.

Based on this study, the construction of the water reservoir is ensured by using various procedures that become national standards to international standards as stated in the ICOLD (International Commissionon Large Dams) Bulletin, US Army Corps Engineer, and other standards.

"That is what we have to analyze, how to make a building that does not collapse by an earthquake. So that both the structure, the concrete, the type of type must all be measured so that it does not collapse," he said.

Mine Building

This potential earthquake problem includes being a concern for environmental activists related to the existence of mining companies in Batangtoru. The mining of tailings or tailings is one of the issues that must be of concern to the government to mining companies operating in earthquake fault areas such as in the Batangtoru area, South Tapanuli.

Director of the Mine Monitor Network (JMT) Ali Adam, previously stated that there is a possibility that the storage of waste which usually contains hazardous chemicals will suffer damage during an earthquake.

"Technically we certainly have never measured power, of course it has become a part that must be monitored by the government," Ali Adam said.

Although the mining company claims that the storage of waste is safe, the public remains concerned about the risks that can occur if the earthquake is faulty. The government and related parties must learn from the disasters of damage to the Fukushima, Japan nuclear reactors, which were previously predicted to have high safety standards, apparently causing fatal environmental pollution impacts due to leakage of waste after the earthquake occurred.

A similar risk can also occur in the holding of gold mining waste in the Batangtoru area, which currently has a negative impact on the sustainability of the Batangtoru River environment.

According to Ali, his party had conducted an investigation some time ago regarding the existence of a mine waste storage pond in Batang Toru. As a result, they confirmed that the company had a shelter area to process mine waste before being dumped into the Batangtoru River

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