• Kyodo

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The nation’s nuclear regulator said Wednesday it would begin safety checks on a reactor at Aomori Prefecture’s Higashidori nuclear plant, despite an ongoing survey of possible seismological faults running beneath the complex.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority will inspect the plant’s No. 1 reactor for possible safety problems in common with other pressurized water reactors.

It earlier said it would not launch a full-fledged review of the reactor until geological surveys are complete.

NRA Commissioner Kunihiko Shimazaki said the safety checks would “not affect” the ongoing hunt for subterranean faults. Shimazaki was speaking at one of the nuclear watchdog’s regular meetings.

An NRA panel said last year in a draft report that fault lines under the Higashidori site remain active, although Tohoku Electric Power Co. disputes this.

The NRA said factors specific to the complex will not be included in the upcoming assessment.