An investigation panel commissioned by the Nuclear Regulation Authority of Japan are in agreement that a fault line runs beneath the Oi nuclear power plant. They are, however, at odds over whether the fault poses enough danger to warrant closing down the reactors.
The fault line lies underneath important water pipe equipment for two of four reactors which were reactivated last July. The Oi power plant is the only nuclear facility that has resumed operations since the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year. Experts from the five-member panel have determined that the underground structure on which the plant stands has slid as far back as 125,000 years ago, though it is not yet clear if it has been caused by an active fault line. Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a University of Tokyo professor, has called for an immediate shutdown of the plant while National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology researcher Norio Shigematsu cautions jumping to any conclusion until more experts are consulted. Kunihiko Shimazaki, who heads the investigation panel and is a professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo, stated that their members may ask Kansai Electric Power Co., the operator of the Oi plant, to conduct further investigations if necessary before they reach a conclusion. The panel was not able to agree on a final decision when its session ended on Sunday. Could the indecision have anything to do with the allegations that some members of the NRA have been accepting “donations” from the pro-nuclear energy sector?
Activists have already called for an immediate shutdown of the plant on the grounds of the fault line, but the government has denied their requests so far. However, if the fault line is proven to be active, the plant will be closed, according to the suggestion of Nuclear Regulation Authority chief Shunichi Tanaka.[ via ABC News ]