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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 April 13 - 19  > Riddled with active faults, Japan is in no condition to have NPPs
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2016 April 13 - 19 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Riddled with active faults, Japan is in no condition to have NPPs

April 16, 2016
More than 2,000 active faults have been identified across Japan. There also exist many active faults near nuclear power plant sites.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority’s expert panel on fault assessments concerning NPP sites has evaluated that faults running beneath the Tsuruga NPP (Japan Atomic Power Company), the Higashidori NPP (Tohoku Electric Power Company), and the Shika NPP (Hokuriku Electric Power Company) may possibly move in the future. Despite this evaluation, operators of these three NPPs have filed the applications needed to resume the operations of these power plants.

These faults were found to have a substantial risk of moving when the former Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (currently the NRA) instructed reinvestigation into that risk in the wake of the 2011 massive earthquake. In addition to the three NPPs, on-site faults were investigated also in the Kansai Electric Power Company’s Oi and Mihama NPPs and the fast-breeder reactor “Monju” of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

Since way before the 2011 earthquake that hit Fukushima, experts had pointed to the possibility that faults lying under the above-mentioned NPPs are active, but their operators had denied the possibility of risk and the national government had also overlooked the risks.

Other NPPs also have risks. Chugoku Electric Power Company acknowledged the Shinji fault near its Shimane NPP to be active in 1998. At that time, the utility announced that the fault is 8 km long. The power company revised the length to be three-times longer than the initial figure after it repeatedly received advice from seismology experts in follow-up assessment sessions.

In the Otsu District Court’s decision to temporarily suspend the operations of Nos 3 and 4 reactors at the Takahama NPP (Kansai Electric Power Company), the court pointed out that there is an insufficient investigation into the faults and the risks they may pose.

Riddled with active faults, Japan as a whole poses too much of a risk to even consider operating dangerous NPPs.

Past related articles:
> District court issues order stopping operations of Takahama NPP [March 10, 2016]
> Faults under Shika NPP most likely active: NRA expert team [March 4, 2016]
> Fault under Tsuruga nuclear power plant again confirmed to be active [November 20, 2014]
> NRA says faults under Higashidori NPP is likely active [December 21, 2012]
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