The Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday accepted an assessment that reactor 2 at the Tsuruga nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture is sitting on an active fault, increasing the likelihood that the unit can never be restarted.

"We have received a report from a panel of experts that said there is an active fault. . . . I think there is a need to accept the conclusion sincerely," NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka told a meeting attended by other commissioners to discuss the panel's conclusion.

It is the first time regulatory authorities have acknowledged that an existing reactor is located on a fault that is feared might shift. The judgment may leave plant operator Japan Atomic Power Co. with no option but to scrap reactor 2.