Title: Quake risk at Japan atomic recycling plant: experts
Author: Kyoko Hasegawa
Date: December 19, 2012
Japan’s only reprocessing plant for spent nuclear fuel could sit on an active seismic fault vulnerable to a massive earthquake, experts warned Wednesday.
If regulators agree they will have to order its closure and Japan would be without any recycling capacity of its own, a government official told AFP on condition of anonymity. [...]
Yasutaka Ikeda, assistant professor of geomorphology at Tokyo University, said a nearly 100-kilometre (60-mile) fault runs under the Rokkasho reprocessing plant in northern Japan.
“Even though experts’ opinions are divided on whether this fault is active or not, I think the possibility of it being an active fault is extremely high, given the evidence,” Ikeda told AFP.
“This fault could cause an 8-magnitude earthquake, so any nuclear-related facilities in the region are in danger,” he said, referring to the Shimokita Peninsula where the Rokkasho plant is located.
Mitsuhisa Watanabe, professor of geomorphology at Tokyo University, separately told Wednesday’s Tokyo Shimbun that part of an active fault runs directly under the Rokkasho plant, warning it is likely to move when the bigger fault moves. [...]
Under government guidelines atomic installations cannot be sited on a fault if it is still classed as active. [...]
At the same site there will also be:
- A high level nuclear waste monitoring facility
- A MOX fuel fabrication plant
- A uranium enrichment plant
Published: December 19th, 2012 at 10:57 am ET