The Nuclear Regulation Authority on May 22 accepted its five-member expert panel's report that the D-1 fracture zone of pebbles and sediment running beneath the No. 2 reactor at Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture is an active fault.

JAPC has long contended that the zone is not an active fault. But given the NRA's position, it will likely have no other choice but to give up on restarting the reactor and to decommission it.

The NRA has not only refuted the company's contention but also demonstrated that the safety check done by the now-defunct Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of the trade and industry ministry was shoddy. The NRA's conclusion has shown that it will give priority to nuclear power plant safety over profitability and will not approve nuclear power plant operations if there is even the slightest chance of danger.