Panel: Fault under Japan nuke plant likely active

AP News
Posted: Dec 20, 2012 8:36 AM

TOKYO (AP) — A team of Japanese scientists says faults underneath a nuclear plant in northern Japan are likely active, which could further delay resumption of idled reactors.

The four-member panel commissioned by the Nuclear Regulation Authority said Thursday that at least two major faults underneath the Higashidori plant are believed to be active and could cause major earthquakes, rejecting operator Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s denial. The operator would have to re-evaluate the seismic impact and reinforce the facility, a process which could take years.

Only two of Japan's 50 reactors are online. The rest are suspended for checks after last year's Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdowns.

Checks have been made for seismic faults at several plants. Earlier this month experts said they suspected an active fault directly underneath a Tsuruga reactor in western Japan.