A potential giant earthquake could trigger a series of large tsunamis and lead to landslides, land subsidence and widespread flooding -- which would have disastrous consequences should a nuclear-powered submarine or carrier be in the dry dock.
"This development is quite troubling, given the already unacceptable backlog in U.S. nuclear submarine maintenance," said Tom Shugart, a former U.S. submariner and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
This is especially so, considering the key role submarines play in deterring an increasingly powerful Chinese military, he said.
"I'd like to think that the Navy conducted a holistic assessment of these relative risks -- the likely highly remote risk of an earthquake causing unacceptable damage to a docked submarine or ship, versus the risk of a failure of deterrence of China caused in part by a somewhat hobbled U.S. submarine force," Shugart said.
Read the full story and more from Nikkei Asia.