NRA next looks to view fault at Tsuruga plant

Kyodo

The Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday selected the Tsuruga plant in Fukui Prefecture as its second destination for field surveys to check faults that could undermine the safety of nuclear power stations.

The NRA said it will send a team of experts to the plant owned by Japan Atomic Power Co. on Dec. 1 and, if necessary, on Dec. 2. The plant’s two reactors are currently offline.

Experts fear faults running directly underneath the two reactors could move in conjunction with an active fault, called Urazoko, located about 250 meters from the reactor buildings.

The investigative team consists of NRA Commissioner Kunihiko Shimazaki, who is a seismologist, and four other experts from academic circles.

If the NRA decides the reactors sit atop active faults, they will not be allowed to resume operations and could be scrapped.

Reactor 1 started operations in 1970, but it was not until 2008 that the Urazoko fault, part of which runs under the plant’s premises, was confirmed to be active.

The government has been reviewing risks posed by active faults after the meltdown crisis started last year at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

The NRA, launched in September, conducted its first on-site inspection at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture earlier this month.

The investigators have yet to conclude whether faults found there can be regarded as active.