Major fault line found running under nuclear reactor west of Tokyo

December 11, 2012TOKYO A fault running directly underneath the Unit 2 reactor of the Tsuruga plant, operated by Japan Atomic Power Co. and located about 330 kilometers (200 miles) west of Tokyo, “could be an active one,” the panel said in a meeting to review an on-site investigation carried out Dec. 1-2 into faults within the plant’s premises. The government’s top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, stressed, however, that steps need to be taken before any final decision. “We shouldn’t make any predictions at this stage,” he said. For one, the panel’s assessment needs to be reviewed by the new regulator, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and it isn’t known when the commission will meet. Still, NRC Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said the commission won’t be able to consider a request to restart the plant as long as there is a possibility the fault is active. Japan Atomic Power submitted an open letter to the NRC Tuesday asking for clarification of the experts’ views, which it said “are not fully explained and lack scientific basis.” If the commission determines there is an active fault under the unit, the company won’t be allowed to restart it, and might have to decommission it. Japan Atomic Power said the conclusion of the panel was “totally unacceptable.” The company added that “we will conduct additional surveys and prove our position with objective data.” A shutdown isn’t a foregone conclusion, experts say. “All the panel is saying is that the fault could be an active one. That means they are arguing that it is equally possible that the fault is inactive,” said Hiroaki Koide, a nuclear-reactor engineer at Kyoto University. “I suspect there is still a good chance of the reactor getting restarted in the future.” Opened in 1970, the Tsuruga plant is one of the oldest in Japan. The major fault line, the Urazoko fault, was found in 2008 to be running 250 meters (825 feet) from the two reactor buildings. Several smaller faults extending from the main Urazoko fault run directly under Unit 2’s reactor. Despite the discovery of the Urazoko fault, Japan Atomic Power continued to operate the plant, saying the smaller faults wouldn’t move in tandem with the bigger one. Some geologists have argued that the land could shift along these faults if a major earthquake triggers movement along the Urazoko fault. The March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant raised fresh concerns, and the regulator has since been reviewing the safety of all of Japan’s 50 reactors. Currently, only two reactors are operating in the country, and those also are under investigation because of concerns over fault lines. The suspension of nuclear reactors has resulted in a sharp decline in Japan’s power-generating capacity. On the northern main island of Hokkaido, the government is calling for voluntary power conservation amid rising demand due to winter weather. Supply concerns are expected to re-emerge when demand peaks again in summer. –WSJ
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13 Responses to Major fault line found running under nuclear reactor west of Tokyo

  1. Woudn’t you think that something of this magnitude would be researched before they built the nuclear reactor?

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  2. That’s a big mistake “??

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  3. MAD says:

    Time to unplug that one, we all know the ending of this story,

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  4. Dennis E. says:

    I do not think that there is not probably a current nuclear power plant that is not built on or near a fault worldwide, known or unknown.
    Knowing what has been posted on this site regarding the volcanic and seismic future of this nation, I would vote not to use this reactor or any other located there and would highly encourage that the nuclear material that could cause radiation damage/injury to the employees and the general population be removed and disposed of according to goverment guidelines…..
    I believe, other than solar energy. there has to be an alternative source of electricity ( i know coal)
    that could meet the needs of the country without using nuclear power as a primary source it seems.
    I believe that there are, but it would costs jobs and topple some major players in the energy world.
    If we can put a person on the moon, send missions to mars and control the robots from earth, we can have a safe reliable source of electricity. I think about the teslor coil sometimes.
    just a thought……………

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  5. merle says:

    A ticking time bomb…tic, tic, tic, tic……………………………………………………………….

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  6. Insignia says:

    Either way, if the core is damaged during a seismic event, turned of or not, wont it still release a ton of radiation into our atmosphere and become a big problem? I mean you can’t turn off radiation right?

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    • Insignia says:

      There’s something funny goin on with these reply links here… Maybe it’s just my phone???

      I seriously don’t see this conmment on this story sometimes… Then I go back out and I’m in the reply section for another story O_O

      More than once this has happened… Nd I’m certain I went in the proper one to begin with O_o

      Thought my comment was deleted more than once… Even a past comment on another story… Same thing.

      This happened to anyone else?

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  7. Nick M. says:

    There are major fault lines running underneath all nuclear plants. They need access to cooling water.

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  8. niebo says:

    “I suspect there is still a good chance of the reactor getting restarted in the future.”

    Is this a threat or a warning? Or both?

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  9. Rosaire says:

    Very interesting

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  10. bete says:

    just few more days to go for the end of 2012, but can’t see any feverish activity ..
    what about post Dec….

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  11. lewonton says:

    Can anyone give a accurate picture of what is happing at the damaged reactor in Japan?

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  12. onthemark55 says:

    If this story isn’t the perfect example that mankinds greed, represented as a power company in this instance, dictates what course of action will be taken, then I don’t know what is! What are the odds that #2 gets restarted, 90-100%? I realize the economic concerns and the potential impact, but wouldn’t it be preferable to be “a poor dirt farmer” than “that poor dead farmer in the dirt”? Amazing how the world dosen’t recognize the threat from Fukushima

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