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On Wednesday, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), based on the findings of a new report, advised that one of the country’s nuclear reactors could never be restarted because it lies directly over an active tectonic fault.
After a five month investigation, the NRA report found an active fault (any fault that has moved in the last 130,000 years), under one of the reactors at the Tsuraga power plant in western Japan.
The NRA is currently investigating the faults in the Earth’s crust under five reactors around Japan to determine if they too must receive the same ruling. A second reactor a Tsuraga, just 300 metres from the identified fault is not one of the five, and could possibly be restarted as it is not directly over the fault.
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The reactors fate now lies with the pro-nuclear government, and even though Japan Atomic Power, the company that operates the nuclear power plant at Tsuraga, is expected to ask the NRA’s decision to be overruled, it is unlikely that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make such a decision which would risk angering the public.
Since all of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors were shut-down for maintenance and safety checks following the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daihatsu plant in March 2011, only two have been given permission to restart.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com