Taipei Metro Circular Line Partially Suspended After Earthquake, Restoration to Take Over a Year

Powerful earthquake strikes Taiwan, damaging critical infrastructure and raising concerns about power grid stability. Restoration of Taipei Metro Circular Line expected to take over a year.

Rafia Tasleem
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Taipei Metro Circular Line Partially Suspended After Earthquake, Restoration to Take Over a Year

Taipei Metro Circular Line Partially Suspended After Earthquake, Restoration to Take Over a Year

The Taipei Metro Circular Line has been partially suspended due to a magnitude 7 earthquake that struck off the east coast of Taiwan on April 3, 2024. The restoration of the line is expected to take at least one year or more, according to officials.

The powerful earthquake caused buildings to collapse in the nearby city of Hualien, but operations at Taipei ports and terminals remained unaffected. A tsunami alert was raised for the southern part of Japan's Okinawa Island, but it has since been lifted.

The earthquake and subsequent aftershocks have raised concerns about the stability of Taiwan's electricity supply, with some workers being evacuated from clean rooms in science parks. Taipower, Taiwan's power company, has proposed a 10-year, NT$560 billion (US$17.2 billion) plan to strengthen the power grid and ensure a direct power supply to the country's seven industrial and science parks.

The plan includes building new transmission lines, towers, and electrical substations dedicated to the science parks, as well as diversifying renewable energy sources and transmission hubs to improve grid resilience. The goal is to ensure a stable and reliable power supply for Taiwan's critical semiconductor industry, which is a major driver of the country's economy.

A cluster of earthquakes struck Taiwan early Tuesday, with the strongest measuring 6.1 magnitude according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The earthquakes caused further damage to two multi-story buildings in Hualien County that had been evacuated following the previous 7.4 magnitude quake on April 3rd that killed 13 people and injured over 1,000.

The latest quakes, ranging from 4.5 to 6.3 in magnitude, were centered near Hualien and felt as far as the capital Taipei. Two buildings in Hualien were partially damaged, but no casualties were reported. Schools and offices in Hualien were ordered closed as hundreds of aftershocks continued to strike.

Why this matters: The earthquake's impact on the Taipei Metro Circular Line and Taiwan's power grid highlights the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to natural disasters. The restoration timeline of over a year for the metro line underscores the challenges in rebuilding after a major earthquake, while the proposed plan to strengthen the power grid emphasizes the importance of ensuring a stable electricity supply for Taiwan's vital semiconductor industry.

Taiwan is prone to powerful earthquakes, but has strict construction standards and public education campaigns that have helped mitigate the toll on its 23 million residents. The Central Weather Administration said the latest quake registered the second-highest intensity of an 'Upper 6' on the 1-7 intensity scale. Experts explained that the distance of the Nan'ao Basin resulted in larger discrepancies between P-waves and S-waves, amplifying the shaking felt in the Taipei Basin. While the Nan'ao Basin earthquakes are independent events, the frequency of aftershocks from the April 3rd quake is expected to decrease significantly. However, with over 1,200 earthquakes accumulated since the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noop

Key Takeaways

  • Taipei Metro Circular Line suspended for over 1 year due to 7.0 earthquake off Taiwan.
  • Ports and terminals in Taipei unaffected, but power grid concerns raise issues for semiconductor industry.
  • Taipower proposes $17.2B plan to strengthen power grid and ensure stable supply for science parks.
  • Cluster of 4.5-6.3 magnitude quakes hit Taiwan, causing further damage in Hualien but no casualties.
  • Earthquake highlights vulnerability of Taiwan's critical infrastructure to natural disasters.