According to a new report released by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, “The crush zone running under the Tsuruga power station is very likely an active fault.” The report also highlights the direction of the fault, and points out that it could be an extension of the same fault which runs directly underneath the Unit 2 reactor. The draft concludes by saying the experts cannot deny the possibility the fault running directly under the No.2 reactor is active.
These conclusions will make it even more difficult for the utility, Japan Atomic Power Company, to restart the idled reactors. In response to the preliminary assessment last month, the utility called the results “totally unacceptable”, and said it would carry out its own investigation to protect its investment.
Even though the fault has been judged active, the NRA does not have the power to cancel construction permits or shut down operating reactors, instead relying only on administrative guidance to keep the reactors shut down until final nuclear safety laws are passed this summer. Authority is commonly understood as the right to perform such action, including the right to make laws, but power is understood as the ability to compel obedience.
Because the NRA is so limited in power, it is unlikely that Japan Atomic Power Company will move to decommission the reactor in the near future, and the resulting stalemate will only reveal the lack of cohesion and unity in the government and industries approach to meaningful change of the energy markets in Japan in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.