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Checking active fault near Shimane plant

January 23, 2015

Regulator to probe fault near nuclear plant

Jan. 23, 2015 - Updated 00:24 UTC+1


Japan's nuclear regulator will study next month an active seismic fault that exists near a nuclear power plant in Shimane Prefecture, western Japan.

The fissure is 2 kilometers south of the complex at its closest point. Its length is one of the focal points in a safety screening requested by Chugoku Electric Power Company in December 2013.

The assessment is necessary to restart the plant's No.2 reactor.

The utility claimed the fault extends 22 kilometers. But the Nuclear Regulation Authority, or NRA, was not convinced. It instructed Chugoku Electric to conduct more research to verify the estimate.

But the power firm told a screening panel on January 16th that its reinvestigation proves its initial calculation is correct.

The report prompted the NRA to have one of its commissioners, Akira Ishiwatari, hold a 2-day, on-the-spot probe into the fault starting on February 5th.

Ishiwatari will look into the state of strata around what is believed to be the eastern end of the fault. Chugoku Electric has already dug up soil in a wide area there. The expert will also analyze data on soil layers in the plant's compound.

The safety evaluation could be prolonged depending on the outcome of the planned study.

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