No Active Faults Found Under Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant: Operator


No active faults found under Hamaoka nuclear power plant: operatorThe operator of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in central Japan said Wednesday its investigation found no active geologic faults under or around the site, which was forced to shut down in 2011 after operation of the plant was deemed risky.

Chubu Electric Power Co. plans to submit the results of the probe to the Nuclear Regulation Authority after it applied for the nuclear watchdog's reactor safety review in February, seeking to resume its operation.

Located on the Pacific coast, about 190 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, the Hamaoka complex in Shizuoka Prefecture is believed to be situated at the potential epicenter of a massive earthquake.

"Everyone in the prefecture knows that the Hamaoka plant is right above the source zone (of the possible quake)," said a Shizuoka Prefecture official, urging the utility to expand the scope of the faults investigation.

In quake-prone Japan, nuclear plant operators are not allowed to build reactors above active faults, which are defined as those that have moved in the last 120,000 to 130,000 years.

Chubu Electric concluded that the faults on the premises of and around the plant "have not moved at least in 130,000 years" and they will not trigger earthquakes.

Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami, the previous government led by the Democratic Party of Japan asked Chubu Electric to halt the operation of the Nos. 4 and 5 reactors at the Hamaoka site, while not permitting reactivating the No. 3 reactor that was under checkups at that time, citing a lack of measures against quake and tsunami hazards.

Two of the five reactors at Hamaoka were retired in 2009.

None of Japan's 48 commercial reactors has passed the NRA's safety assessment based on new regulations introduced in the wake of the nuclear crisis, despite a total of 19 applications being made.