Fault line stirs debate over Japan nuclear power reactor

Tsuruga plant

The finding that a nuclear reactor in Japan is sitting on an active earthquake fault could cause it to be shut down. If so, it will be the first reactor to cease operations due to earthquake concerns, The Wall Street Journal reported.

An onsite investigation at the Tsuruga plant in early December confirmed what scientists and regulators had believed, that a fault running directly under the reactor could be active. Shunichi Tanaka, chairman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the agency would not be able to consider any request to restart the nuclear power plant as long as there is some possibility the fault is active and poses a danger to the public, the article stated.

Some disagree with the findings or say its not necessary the plant stays shut down. Hiroaki Koide, a nuclear reactor engineer at Kyoto University, told the Journal that it is equally possible the fault could be inactive, and there is still a good chance the nuclear reactor could get a green light to be restarted in the future. Japan Atomic Power also said investigators' findings were "totally unacceptable" and plans to conduct its own surveys on the fault.

MarketWatch reported the Atomic Power Co. sent a letter to nuclear regulators asking for clarification on its conclusion regarding the fault, as they "are not fully explained and lacks scientific basis."

PennEnergy's research area offers details on nuclear power in Japan.

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