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Tohoku Electric applies for safety checks on reactor in Aomori


Tohoku Electric Power Co on Tuesday applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for safety checks on the No. 1 reactor at its Higashidori nuclear plant in Aomori Prefecture.

The NRA is currently processing applications for safety checks on 19 reactors around Japan.

However, the application for a restart of the 1.1-million-kilowatt reactor at the Higashidori plant is likely to be a drawn-out process since the utility disagrees with a team of NRA scientists who said last year that faults underneath the plant are most likely active.

The NRA has said that nuclear plants sitting atop active faults will not be given the green light to be restarted.

The four-member panel commissioned by the NRA says that at least two major faults underneath the Higashidori plant are believed to be active, while Tohoku Electric maintains they are inactive.

The panel said the faults could cause magnitude 7-class earthquakes near the reactor, which was opened in 2005 and is among the newest of Japan's aging reactors.

Unless the operator can present evidence that reverses the current analysis, Tohoku Electric would have to re-evaluate the seismic impact and reinforce the facility before it could reopen, a process that could take years.

Checks have been also made for seismic faults at several other plants following criticism that past investigations of faults by utilities were faulty. Although the government, desperate to stabilize Japan's energy supply and cost, has said reactors that have passed strict safety checks can resume operations, fresh investigations into faults could further delay the process.

© Japan Today/AP

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Biked past this place a week ago. Higashidori gets tremors all the time. Whenever there is an earthquake in Aomori, Higashidori always ranks the highest in magnitude. Also interesting, the whole town of Higashidori is pretty much a nuclear facility now. The nuclear power plant built a new elementary/junior high school and re-centralized the whole town around the nuclear disaster command center. They built a giant residential area with NO commercial areas anywhere to be found and it looks like an odd neo-ghost town. The only people who live in this residential area of the future are government employees, the mayor (who has an AMAZING house), and Tohoku Electric employees. Not to mention 2 American ALTS who have to treck 30 minutes to the nearest convenient store. Tohoku Electric owns this town and it is not a fun place.

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No! Next. No! Next. No... ad-nauseam.

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It's quite ironic that, even though these reactors are 'offline' the inherant danger is at its peak just because they are there. They are still working, they are just not supplying electricity. The only way to make them safe is to dismantle them, which would take decades. It's quite stupid they are arguing over restarting them because of safety.

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Disillusioned Great comment ,, its all a show . Yongyang I cant read japanese and when i click the english translation the whole site changes ,, map is different , etc . Could you explain what is that map showing ? Is that an earthquake and when was it ? thanks .

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Yes they are safER when not working , but how safe is safer ? Safe is a relative issue ,, how safe is a fuel pool for example , full of thousands of fuel rods , sitting on an active fault line ? Sure safer than one which would be working , but still i wouldnt want to be living near one of those either ,, even though they are safER .

Call me crazy but if i was one of the decision makers , i wouldnt agree on buildimng ANY nuke plant near or on ANY fault line ,, maybe its just me :)

Profits ,, lossess ,, trillions and billions of yens ,, shows WHAT it is all about and it does not sound like it s about safety if you know what i mean .

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It can be spent fuel ,, non spent fuel ,, utility pool or whatever ,, just nuclear fuel , nuclear rwactor sitting on a fault line is not a good idea .

True , i am not living in japan , but it doesnt keep me worrying about the people suffering from this disaster ,, inside or outside japan . It is heart breaking to see all that .Not only people but environment , the ocean ( btw i am not living near the pacific ocean either ) and infact all life . But mostly i worry about the future , cause trying to make profits , being greedy , we are ruining our world and leaving a radioactive place for the future generations to live in ,, and we dont have the right to do that IMO .

Absolutely ,, in too many cases profit before safety ,, unfortunately . Some countries are beginning to realize what the actual damage is ,, but many others are still planning to build more nuke plants ,, trying to get into the elite group of "nuclear power's " and military industrial machine is pushing it with false info ,, down played statistics , hiding behind lies like secrecy , national security and so on . It sometimes seem like a lost battle to fight against the pronuke agenda.

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Unless the operator can present evidence that reverses the current analysis, Tohoku Electric would have to re-evaluate the seismic impact and reinforce the facility before it could reopen, a process that could take years.

According to my technical understanding, this upgrade is impossible for an existing plant. You have to consider it before you build the plant. It is not a small change, as we are talking about at least 10~100x higher acceleration factors.

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