Guest Post: Japan's Last Remaining Nuclear Power Plant May Be Built On An Active Fault Line

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Joao Peixe of,

Following the disaster at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima last year, nearly all of Japan’s reactors have been shut down. The only power plant to remain operational today is the Oi nuclear plant in western Japan.

A geologist working as part of team looking at the power plant, its location, and the geological history of the area, has now stated that the power plant is built on top of a fault line that can be described as ‘active’ (a fault line that experienced tectonic movement in the last 130,000 years), and advises that it be shut down immediately.

Mitsushisa Watanabe, a geologist on Japan’s nuclear advisory panel, said that “it is an active fault. The plates shifted some 120,000 to 130,000 years ago for sure.”

“In research that I have conducted on active faults in Japan and overseas, structures built above them were all damaged,” due to earthquakes.

Watanabe fears that any seismic activity on this fault line could cause a catastrophe similar to the one at Fukushima; although his colleagues on the advisory panel disagree.

They believe that it is still too early to determine whether the fault is ‘active’. Kunihiko Shimazaki, the head of the advisory board, said that the geological scarring that they have noticed was probably caused by nothing more than an ancient landslide, and that more work must be done before they board can make it decision.

Watanabe does not disagree with this sentiment, but wants to see the plants reactors shut down until the decision is made, just to err on the side of caution in case the fault is determined to be ‘active’.

“We are not seeking to decommission the plant," Watanabe said. "We should first stop operation and then carry out underground investigation thoroughly before reaching a conclusion.”

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Dr. Engali's picture

I would like to know how Japan is even functioning with 30% of it's energy production off line.

ACP's picture

Every stream and river runs down a fault. Which means nearly every dam is built on a fault, not necessarily "active," but a fault nonetheless. There are a hell of a lot of things that can happen.

Edit: Not to mention a continuous breakdown in discipline in the Federal government:

williambanzai7's picture

Part of the answer has to do with waste. You just can't imagine how much energy was wasted before. The second part has to do with the Japanese stoic tolerance for inconvenience. Many foreigners have abandoned Tokyo because they can't tolerate the lack of air conditioning etc.

The third part is slackening demand from the industrial sector.

HedgeCock's picture

Right after the tsunami and shut down of its nuclear reactors, Japan borrowed a couple of massive natural gas turbines made by GE from Thailand and I think subsequently bought them.  The event gave GE's lagging gas turbine department a boost.  The blown crappy old geezer reactors at Fuku were made by GE, but GE gets to make money anyway from the disaster by selling newer generation turbines----oh the irony.

I think the original gas turbines lent to Japan were bought by Myanmar recently.

valkir's picture

Does not matter where is built.HAARP can do miracles.

fuu's picture

Oddly enough Oi sits just outside Obama city, in Obama Bay.

Dr. Engali's picture

Okay that's just fucked up. I thought you were just screwing around when you posted that until I looked it up.

fuu's picture

Stranger than fiction.

suteibu's picture

There is a lot of momentum among the public to eliminate all nuclear power.  Such a goal was supposed to be added to Japan's energy plans.  However, the Obama administration put a lot of pressure on their lapdog Noda to strike any official remarks about reducing nuclear power in Japan.  When the plan was released, there was no mention of a future goal to reduce nuclear power.  Obama City, Indeed.

Jreb's picture

The entire country is built on an active fault line ergo....

Deathrips's picture

Fook Me!!!!

party time.


lolmao500's picture

And western japan is much worse than Fukushima...

Dominant winds go from west to east...

All the Fukushima fallout goes out to sea... so it's not ``that bad``.

But THAT reactor going into Fukushima mode?? Japan would be effectively CUT IN TWO.

If you look where it is...

It's right in the middle of Japan... and it's in straight line FROM TOKYO.

Tokyo :

If this reactor goes kaboom, JAPAN IS DONE FOREVER. Tokyo WILL HAVE TO BE EVACUATED FOREVER. 35 million people live around Tokyo. 35 FUCKING MILLION.

And right south of that reactor, there's OSAKA... the second biggest city in Japan... with 18 million people for the metro area.

So that would mean bare minimum, 53 million + refugees...

Japan is done as a country if the reactor goes into meltdown.

A country can recover from almost anything but a nuclear meltdown ain't one of them.

SilverDOG's picture

Japan is already "done."


The cause of the underlying effect is just beginning to rear its poisonous head.

A look back, ten years from now, will bring forth epic OMG.


Japan is done... well done.

USSA is next.

Monedas's picture

Put it on DoChen Roller Bearing seismic isolators .... problem solved .... or on a sled on a bed of shredded used tires .... problem solved .... or isolator sandwiches made of used condoms and rolled stainless steel .... problem solved !       Monedas Engineering Inc.

fourchan's picture

its a volcanic island, the whole thing is a fault line.

booboo's picture

Yellowstone should lobby for one, a moose needs a hat rack, screen doors on submarines, it's a mad,mad world

Bunga Bunga's picture

Why do falt lines in Japan matter when you can have a fire at home?

At least they know the causes of earthquakes.

PUD's picture

geological scarring that they have noticed was probably caused by nothing more than an ancient landslide


See? Nothing to worry about.

johnQpublic's picture

i wonder what would happen here if overnight WE lost 30% of our electricity supply


based on hurricane sandy, i'm thinkin, not so very damnably good things

SilverDOG's picture



Let's just go for 100% energy loss.


Surely, we (USSA) deserve a preemptive taste of what is to be.


Keep stacking my friends.

Totentänzerlied's picture

1/2 The NIMBYs would shut up, go home, and cry because they'd be facing chronic rolling blackouts for the rest of their lives and their standard of living will have fallen so far virtually overnight - caveat emptor.

(The other 1/2 would demand more generating capacity be taken offline post-haste.)

NidStyles's picture

Yep, should have been using Thorium reactors....

Kassandra's picture

No one seems too concerned. Their all busy posting over on the 'Kerry' thread.

xtop23's picture

Why worry TEPCO said everything is just dandy.

Meanwhile, in a 450 sq. ft. luxury townhouse in Tokyo;

"Mommy, why do I glow when you turn off my night light?"

Ineverslice's picture


very funny posts above, understandably so...

Fuckin eh, man, somebody better be building  the Robot King Kong as we speak!

Walt D.'s picture

Watanabe fears that any seismic activity on this fault line could cause a catastrophe similar to the one at Fukushima


....You mean a catastrophe where nobody actually dies? Sounds scary.

Forget about the earthquake damage.

Time for a new phobia. Dying in an electric car as the result of the battery catching fire. Just need a few incidents for this one to catch on. I'm tired of waiting for these nuclear catasthophes .. a lot of hype and then nothing happens. At least you only have to wait a day for the broken clock to be right. 

SilverDOG's picture

Nuclear catastrophe timeline is so slow... slow people do not comprehend.


Wait patiently for your last 48 months of life; and realize why you are probed, plugged,

poked, and pondered as if the AMA is clueless to all, except your estate consuming bill.

Alas, you will have forgotten by then...    what?


Nuclear fuel rod storage, 200,000 yrs + will be the guaranteed end of life as "we" now it. If 

Mother Nature does not choose as such beforehand.


estrategy's picture

Can someone put a pin in our map where the new power plant is going to be in Japan

Al Gorerhythm's picture

This guy is obviously nothing more than a Chicken Little. What's there to worry about?

cranky-old-geezer's picture



Hmmm.... sounded like more fear-mongering from GW. 

Fear-mongering from someone else for a change.

I've yet to understand ZH's criteria for contributors.  Maybe there isn't any ...except some sort of fee perhaps.

q99x2's picture

CA builds its reactors on fault lines and the big one is about to hit. From here the winds travel east across the US. I've never seen so many big quakes along the west coast to the north and south as within the last week. on the USGS site. Corporatism is the rule of law to the point of wiping out the US to make a buck. I'm hoping the winds don't blow over where I'm at when the big one hits. Fukushima may have already put some hot particals in my lungs.

SilverDOG's picture


Study geological history. The quake party; has just begun.

Random's picture

I would love to know how a city with ~300k inhabitants (not to mention a shit load of villages) is fine and dandy next to (~60 kilometers)  presumably, 4 total core meltdowns that rage for over 1 and a half years and 1 or 2 fully burnt spent fuel pools? Either that or there was no meltdown, something has to give, i wonder which one...

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

They have no choice in the matter..........

Japan is not the US.

The Duke of New York A No.1's picture

DISASTER CAPITALISM = The business of Destruction & ReConstruction .... and it's even sweeter when it happens in foreign lands.