Utility company Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO), responsible for operating Japan’s only two active nuclear reactors in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, is to report the government that the recently discovered fault line running under the plant is inactive. The details of this report are to be revealed later this week, and surely the company that needs to keep the power plant running in order to stay in business wouldn’t try to cover up something vital to the safety of the public. Right?
Since August KEPCO has been researching the fault that runs under the reactors through digging and other survey methods. The utility company claims it has found no solid evidence to show the fault is anything but inactive, or would move in tandem with other faults in the event of a nearby earthquake. Japanese laws prohibits the building of nuclear reactors, or any other facilities related to nuclear safety, above fault lines that have moved in the last 130,000 years. After discovery of the Fukui Prefecture fault, critics called for the immediate shut down of the nuclear plant, stating that even its presence was a welcoming for another disaster such as Fukushima.
After all the evidence showing that the Fukushima crisis was the result of collusion between utility companies, the government, and nuclear safety regulators, it is incomprehensible why KEPCO has a voice on the matter of a fault line, or was even allowed to conduct its own investigation. The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), a recently formed agency with less connection to the government, is said to hold its own investigation on Friday. It’s not clear if the NRA will have the final word on the fate of the nuclear reactors, but we can only hope the government won’t leave the decision up to a utility company that has direct incentives to keep the plant running.