Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) accepted and approved of an expert assessment on Wednesday which points out that the No. 2 reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Western Japan is built right above a tectonic fault line that is active, strengthening doubts that the facility will be able to resume operation. The acknowledgement from Japan’s nuclear regulators is a significant one, as this is the first time that the NRA has stated that a reactor is located above a fault line with a high possibility of earthquakes in the future. This assessment is likely to leave plant operators Japan Atomic Power Co. with no choice but to scrap the reactor.
The expert panel convened by the Nuclear Regulation Authority came to its final conclusion that the fault located under the No. 2 reactor at Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tsuruga plant is active. Therefore, the location is unsafe and does not meet the necessary conditions to undergo a safety assessment, leading to the likely possibility that the plant will be decommissioned.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority has stopped the Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor from going back online due to safety concerns. They said that based on reports from November, Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), the operator of the 280-megawatt reactor in Fukui prefecture, has failed to fulfil some of the security checks required by the NRA.
Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) Chairman Shunichi Tanaka has given some conflicting statements regarding when they will reach a decision on whether or not the Tsuruga nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture has an active fault line running directly underneath. Their decision and conclusion is needed to see whether the plant will already be decommissioned.
They once were the mightiest entities in Japan, but now power utility companies are facing a second straight year of combined losses of 16 billion dollars, amidst the delays in the restart of their nuclear reactors, plus the rising costs of importing fossil fuel due to the weaker yen. Now they would have to either raise consumer prices or seek further government assistance just to keep afloat.
In what is the first time that a government minister has alluded to the timing with regards to restarting commercial nuclear reactors, Industry minister Toshimitsu Motegi revealed that some of the country’s offline nuclear reactors may be restarted by autumn this year at the earliest if they pass the new safety assessment put in place by Japan’s nuclear regulators. The majority of the country’s nuclear power plants were shut down after the Fukushima disaster, forcing Japan to look towards traditional non-nuclear fuel sources for thermal power generation.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team, headed by Juan Carlos Lentijo said that the decommissioning of the Fukushima nuclear plant might take more than 40 years. The nuclear watchdog also urged Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled plant to improve the "essential systems" so as to avoid prolonging the clean-up.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) will be inspecting Japan's two remaining operating nuclear reactors to see if they will be able to remain online after July when the new safety requirements will take effect. The NRA will be doing a safety assessment of reactors No 3 and 4 at the Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture and then submit their assessment by the end of June.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) president Naomi Hirose said that they will be abandoning the seven underground pools that were storing radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Three of those pools were found to be leaking the contaminated water since April 5. Instead, they will be transferring all the water to more stable tanks on the ground.
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) President Naomi Hirose to address public concerns about the recent radioactive water leakage and power outages at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. In the meeting with Hirose, he also instructed the company to ensure that the radioactive water will not seep into the nearby Pacific Ocean.